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Canadian writer looking to talk with Desert Shield and Desert Storm black veterans

Guest greegan

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Guest greegan

Good evening,

I am looking for veterans willing to speak about race discrimination within the U.S. armed forces during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

I will make my email available if this forum allows it.


Thank you for any who participate.

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There wasn't any race discrimination. People need to stop looking for something if they weren't a part of it simply to create a book or expose something that wasn't there; in my opinion. I experienced zero race issues while in the Navy from 90-98 Active, Reserve and Inactive. The military for me was the one place where your race didn't really matter. You could either fix the jet or you couldn't. You either passed the test, or you didn't. You either did your job or you didn't. When I was snatched away from in front of a propeller while on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72 when I was in VF-114, it was by a white boy. When I prevented a huffer from rolling down the flight deck and hitting someone, it was to help a white boy. We all worked 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. We all went to the Philippines before heading to the Gulf to rescue and move people from Manilla to Cebu after Mt. Pinatubo. When we were finally able to get off the ship, my crew that I ran with, my boys, had a Vanilla Ice, a Puerto Rican, Blacks and Zu, Yu and Edu. It was the fucking UN.

During my second cruise I was one of the only sailors to make 3rd class in one of the toughest rates in the Navy. AE (Aviation Electrician's Mate). Our PO in charge was Black. We all had shitty chiefs who we knew were probably bigots, but we held our own issues with each other and it didn't affect the way the squadron was run. If you did your job and everyone made it in safe it was good. if we lost someone, which we did in a plane crash while doing sorties in the Gulf, we all shed tears together. The only issue with race was more white guys went to OCS so we had more White officers than Blacks and the Black officers we had tended to be more standoffish than the White ones. If you want to ask me a question, then fire away right here on this forum and maybe someone else will jump in and offer their POV, but before I went in the Navy, I should have been killed or in jail. The Navy saved my life. This is only my version as an Enlisted Sailor. Now, I think maybe if you want a different perspective you should focus your search on guys who were probably E-5 and above with more than 8 years in. Those guys will probably have a completely different view than me.

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I've heard the very same thing from most people who've been in the military.
That it's not about race, class, or sex...it's about PERFORMANCE.

The military is the insitution where most racial barriers are broken down permanently because human beings are reduced to the same level during basic training and then built back up into a new mentality where everyone acts as a unit.
The military is the place where the White supremist mindset is often destroyed because it's usually the first place a White person is taken from their priviledged environment and placed in the same environment as Blacks and Browns and begins to realize that humans are humans regardless as to what he's been taught all his life growing up.


This, I believe is why so many Black people tend to do good in the military and it's also why you find so many Blacks and Latinos in the armed forces out of proportion than you find them in general society.
It's one of the few institutions in this nation that the playing field is some what level.

The rules are clear.
The expectations are clear.
And the results are self evident.

I hope I don't sound like a hypocrite for saying this because I didn't serve in the military, however I personally believe that ALL young people should be required to be apart of some national service program after highschool for a few years just to instill the discipline and teach them the skills of life that they may not necessarily get from home or in school.

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Up until President Truman ordered the armed forces integrated in 1950, the Navy was considered the most racist branch of the military and the consensus was that Negroes in the Navy could never expect to serve in any capacity other than menial positions such as  Aides or Sewards or Cooks which was what Dorrie Miller was, the heroic black sailor made famous for grabbing a machine gun and joining his crew mates in shooting down    Japanese planes during the raid on Pearl Harbor.  

During World War II, my brother joined the Navy and quite a few people, a lot of whom were his friends, couldn't understand why, considering how prejudiced it was.  Everybody else just waited to be drafted into the Army.  I was just a kid then and I don't remember the reason he gave, but I think my father advised him to do so, something about enlisted men having more options(?). I do know that he scored very high on the tests given and was eventually assigned to the USS Mason which was the first vessel manned by an all black crew. I also remember him recounting an incident when he was stationed in Norfolk, Virgina, and was coming back from leave waiting for a bus to take him back to the base. When the bus arrived and he tried to get on, the driver told him the bus was so crowded  that there was no room in the back of  it which was where Negroes were expected to sit in the south,  so he couldn't board it.  According to my brother, what the bus was crowded with was a bunch of drunk sailors who became indignant about a fellow sailor being told to get off, and they rushed forward, threw the driver out, and one of them drove the bus back to the base.  

Later in the 1980s, my son joined the Navy and served  on the USS Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier which spent 90 days on alert in the Indian Ocean during the Persian Gulf hostage crises. He never reported any racial incidents among the crew of about 2000, but he was among the great numbers of sailors and navy vets disgusted with the decision to integrate the sexes in the arm forces, something which resulted in women being assigned to the Eisenhower.  He couldn't believe they'd allow females to trespass on this hallowed ground of male exclusivity!

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Pioneer I've often said that the military would be a good option for guys straight out of high school. I've softened my position because we are warmongers looking for a fight. It may have been this way of course in the past, but today it just feels more blatant in disregard to maintaining a strong military that can act, vs a military that always acts.

Cynique, as sexist as your son sounds, I was with him. I was a part of the first Fighter Squadron VF-213, that allowed women to fly F-14s. I was completely against this as I worked on the jets and felt that women simply weren't strong enough to fly the jet. Some men had problems with older F-14s which were pneumatic, hydraulic and electronic flight systems vs F-18s which were fly by wire and much easier to control. I was getting ready to get out when the squadron began work ups (getting ready for cruise by flying to the ship to test out new crew). I told my chief and my shop that this new lady pilot was going to die. 6 months later here is the story: http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-27/news/mn-55338_1_dagny-hultgreen

My sister was in the Navy and I didn't have a problem with women being on ships or in the Navy, I just knew that certain jets shouldn't be flown by women. I also didn't think that a woman could be in certain aspects of Aviation because of the heavy labor, but we couldn't speak out and say much and today, I typically avoid the dialogue. Planes are easier to fly now. The F-14 is retired and most female pilots are assigned to fly-by-wire aircraft squadrons or as Rios or Navigators... but I wasn't wrong and if someone had listened to me when I was taking my terminal leave that lady would probably be alive. They trained her on F-14 Ds and sent her to a squadron with the oldest jets at Miramar...bad move altogether.

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If you noticed, I didn't necessarily say young people had to join the MILITARY after highschool.
Everyone isn't cut out for military duty. There are a lot of people who should not only never learn how to use a gun, but they shouldn't even come NEAR one because they'll end up hurting themselves before anyone else.

However, they CAN and SHOULD perform some sort of National Service such as fighting forest fires, cleaning up trash, performing medical services, ect....
But the main thing is to get them out of the comforts of their homes and away from mommy and daddy and teach them discipline, responsibility, and self reliance as well as how to work with people of different backgrounds.

I see it as a "great equalizer" of sorts. 

n a nation so large that values individualism and people have the right to choose where they live,  too often people tend to grow up in isolated communities and by human nature don't want to leave unless someone MAKES them.  There needs to be some sort of institution that FORCES people to live and work together for a certain period of time in order to achieve and maintain some sort of sense of unity in America or else the people will eventually turn on eachother.



My views on the role of women in society is constantly changing.
For such a long time, I didn't think women should even be in the military....just like I didn't think homosexuals should be in the military.

Now I think BOTH should be allowed in the military and the focus should be the individual rather than the group and the criteria should be who can produce the best RESULTS regardless.

However the officers should use a lot of common sense when putting different groups together.

You can't expect to put a bunch of healthy young men and women together under ANY condition and not expect that some sexual activity may go on.

Nor can you just recklessly put gay men in the same squad with straight men and then be suprised that fights start breaking out in the shower room because nature takes it's course...lol.

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