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ronrouhier

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Reply with quote  #1 
I read a brief item on the Little Rock travel itinerary that mentioned the riots after the '73 war.

Sleeping in the bunks was near impossible for several weeks. My memory may be aging but what I recall (was) that a seaman in 2rd division was hit by a spanner wrench from behind (Jesse....) which help start the free for all.

I also remember that tensions were helped along by the policy that the Rock came into port for around six hours just so they wouldn't have to pay separation pay. This would have been shortly after our arrival from Rota-Gaeta-Cyprus.

Anybody remember the Marines knocking the crap out of two seaman in First Division around the same time? They were both taken off the ship in straight-jackets. One of them was named Fife and his colleague knocked the Marine Corporal of the Guard down some steps outside sickbay where they had their duty station.
Artillery

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Reply with quote  #2 
Sometime back I received a photocopy of a newspaper article that might add some detail to this story. The article was sent in by Tony Matrenga who was part of the USS Little Rock crew at the time. (The paper is from Mobile, Alabama, but there is no date on the photocopied portion of the paper.)

Here is the article:

Navy To Try 12 Sailors For Rioting

NAPLES, Italy (AP) - Sailors fought amongst themselves on the flagship of the U.S. Fleet during the Mideast crisis last November, and 12 were charged with rioting and assault, the Navy said Wednesday.

Ten of those charged were black and two were white. The black sailors said the fist fights broke out after a white seaman used a wrench in an attack on a black.

The 10 sailors said at a news conference that they were victims of racial discrimination and that they could not get a fair trial in a court-martial to be convened next month.

The previously unpublicized incident took place aboard the cruiser Little Rock on November 8. The warship was on duty in the Mediterranean then during the Middle East crisis.

The Navy declined comment on the allegations made by the black sailors.

The Navy said that one of the two white sailors was acquitted of charges and the other was sentence to 45 days in the brig. The two white sailors were not identified.

The blacks appeared at a hotel accompanied by a civilian lawyer, Robert S. Rivkin, of the Lawyer’s Military Defense Committee. The blacks said the disturbances followed months of racial tension aboard ship and what they termed numerous instances of “institutionalized racism” by the ship’s officers.


- - - - - - - - - -

At the risk of not appearing neutral (as the Editor should be), it is my personal opinion that this would appear to be a blemish on the reputation of an otherwise "squared away" ship and her crew.

Appropriate and pertainent comments regarding this incident are welcomed.

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Art Tilley MT2 (Editor)
1962-1963
johnhenry

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Reply with quote  #3 
I remember those times.    The marines would have to escort us from work station to bunk and back if you worked at  night. Lots of tension on board. 
Artillery

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Reply with quote  #4 
We recently published a transcript of RADM Roger O. Simon's June 2008 oral history interview.

RADM Simon was the XO on the Little Rock during the time of the "race riots". His insights and opinions will add some light to this and will help in keeping in perspective what transpired.

After clicking on the above link, scroll about halfway down the page to get to the part about the riots.

If you were aboard during that time frame you will find the entire interview with RADM Simon to be enlightening. If you weren't aboard then you will still find the  interview  informative and educational.


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Art Tilley MT2 (Editor)
1962-1963
dboutin

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Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronrouhier
I read a brief item on the Little Rock travel itinerary that mentioned the riots after the '73 war.

Sleeping in the bunks was near impossible for several weeks. My memory may be aging but what I recall (was) that a seaman in 2rd division was hit by a spanner wrench from behind (Jesse....) which help start the free for all.

I also remember that tensions were helped along by the policy that the Rock came into port for around six hours just so they wouldn't have to pay separation pay. This would have been shortly after our arrival from Rota-Gaeta-Cyprus.

Anybody remember the Marines knocking the crap out of two seaman in First Division around the same time? They were both taken off the ship in straight-jackets. One of them was named Fife and his colleague knocked the Marine Corporal of the Guard down some steps outside sickbay where they had their duty station.
dboutin

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Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #6 
I wasn't on board till 74 but, I got into an argument with a African American while doing my tour of mess duty. Long story, but I had to defend myself. There were several witnesses including officers.When I went before the captain , his exact words were " I have no choice due to recent racial tensions, but to demote you to seamen apprentice, fine you 800 dollars and restrict you to the ship for 90 days, sorry we cannot take that chance". Then when I was about to leave he gave me a letter of commendation for bravery while standing watch at the main gate, for closing the gate before Italians citizens chased a sailor. I don't know about bravery when I stood there with my rifle and NO bullets.All in all I still was able to enjoy my time aboard the Rock. 74-76
dboutin

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronrouhier
I read a brief item on the Little Rock travel itinerary that mentioned the riots after the '73 war.

Sleeping in the bunks was near impossible for several weeks. My memory may be aging but what I recall (was) that a seaman in 2rd division was hit by a spanner wrench from behind (Jesse....) which help start the free for all.

I also remember that tensions were helped along by the policy that the Rock came into port for around six hours just so they wouldn't have to pay separation pay. This would have been shortly after our arrival from Rota-Gaeta-Cyprus.

Anybody remember the Marines knocking the crap out of two seaman in First Division around the same time? They were both taken off the ship in straight-jackets. One of them was named Fife and his colleague knocked the Marine Corporal of the Guard down some steps outside sickbay where they had their duty station.
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