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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
The military likes to say thaat racism is just a reflection of the problem in America, intensified by conditions in combat and other heavy duty. And a group of black GIs stationed at Whiskey Mountain with the 35th Engineering Group know that lifers are more thanm ready to smash any signs of unity among black brothers.
On September 25th, a group of brothers asked permission to attend a memoriaal service in Cam Ranh Bay for a two-year old blac girl killed by a white two years ago in Los Angeles. PFC Willie Norwood said, "There'd been a lot of rain, and when we got to the gate, we were told the bridges were flooded and we couldn't go. They told us we could have the service in our hootch."
So fifteen black and four white GIs holed up in their bunker. Later in the morning, a sergeant came in and talked the white guys into leaving. The scene was set up - fifteen blacks in the bunker surrounded by Charlie Company (299th Eng Bn) with loaded weapons and three APCs.
Sp/4 Bobby Williams was one of the people inside. "One guy said he smelled smoke. That was it. An explosion went off. We staggered outside and two of the guys collapsed. One guy went into a state of shock."
On the outside Sp/4 Herlin Lee saw "Guys come out and drop to the ground like they were dead. It seemed like the whole of Chalie Company was on the scene with their loaded weapons pointed at the brothers as they came out."
Reporters talked with three of the brothers as they were being transsferred. The Army charged fourteen of the guys with mutiny and held them in Long Binh for a week before they were persuaded to cop to lesser charges. The men got demotions, fines and paay cuts of more than $100. Two of them were still in the stockade three weeks after the mutiny. And not surprising, no one was charged with setting off the mysterious explosion.
Racism issn't the only problem at Whiskey Mountain. Smack is widely used there and there are frequent frags and other "occurences" as the Washington Post calls them. These are all directly relaated to the fucked up conditions at the base, like most places in the nam. And then the lifers pull their racist tactics out when people begin to combat these conditionss. As Whiskey Mountain showed, they'd rather kill their own men thaan deal wth the real problem: that GIs, black and brown and red and yellow and white, shouldn't be there at all.
Up Against the Bulkhead, vol. 2, no. 10