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25 June 2013


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William R. Cumming

Thanks very much Richard for this thoughtful personal history and knowledge. The Chicago Riots were captured all most entirely by the TV and MSM. Probably cost HH the election but few realize how close he came to winning. Repudiation of LBJ just not in the man who LBJ had made VP!

And a Timely post! Why? Few in the Active Duty forces, Reserve, and National Guard have had training in Riots and Civil Disorders. But from the late 60's on the Riots and Civil Disorders were closely studied. The HUGHES PANEL Report one such study.

30% of my basic training company [entered on active duty September 10th, 1967] were Blackstone Rangers drafted off the streets of S. Chicago that summer by judicial action and many were Chiefs and other officers of the GANG! High levels of natural leadership and brains. Almost all went to Tigerland [Ft. Polk}from Ft. Leonard Wood [nicknamed Little Korea] and almost all went to RVN. Another group in the company were PROJECT 100K [bottom fourth quarter of Armed Services examine] and then also went on to Tigerland and Viet Nam. I went to Artillery AIT at Ft. Sill. Where I completed OCS.

We may have more long hot summers ahead. Since the formation of DHS I have written personally to a BUSH AG asking for formal study and updating of plans by the Federal Government. No response received. The plan during my time in government was called GARDEN PLOT.

Twice during OCS I was alerted with other OC Candidates for potential riot duty. First for death of ML KIng and then for Robert F. Kennedy.

Fortunately was not deployed.

Thanks again Richard for your post skillful as always.



I was in combat at the time of the Chicago riots. Fortunately I was not exposed to all this trauma in the states. pl


Great writing, thanks.

Wpl, I didn't read Wrc's comment as making a comparison.

Charles I

Compelling story Richard, thanks. Very fortunate you were not more seriously injured. I can't imagine disarming three cops set on a good beating nowadays.

Pat, I don't see a comparison, I read a warning.

There is no comparison between Vietnam and the streets of Chicago. That might be remembered if soldiers trained for foreign combat are to be deployed as urban anti-riot brigades against today's protesters and gangs over the upcoming issues that will matter to them.

steve g

Ah, yes '68, that inauspicious year. Let's
quickly recap the major events. The Pueblo
Incident, MLK assassination, RFK likewise,
the aforementioned Chicago riots, and the
Olympic protests. Last but not least, Nixon
gets his lifelong wish. Spent my time in boot
and schools battalion MCRD, San Diego. Watched
most of it on B&W telly and read about it in the
San Diego Union. If we would have had the info
then we have now would have seemed even more
earth shattering. Did I leave anything of con-
sequence out. Tet Offensive anyone?

William R. Cumming

Steve G! Soviet invasion of Chezchoslavkia[sic] spring 68!


I spent all of 1968 in Corvallis, OR. I attended RFK’s and Nixon’s campaign speeches. Nothing much else happened in that small college town that year. But, I remember a street dance with the Doors “Light My Fire” playing as loud as possible from the loudspeakers and I waiting to be drafted.


Riots in Paris, flight of DeGaulle.


The 1968 Pontiac GTO. That was when a young man with or without a high school education could get a decent paying job and buy the muscle car he always dreamed of. Those days are gone forever.

Today's equals are the Snowdens that earn "master mechanics" status by tinkering with computers and getting good paying jobs, without formal education. The problem being there aren't enough of these high tech jobs to create a large middle-class.


Great story Mr. Sale, one month ago I would have read it with the usual detached fascination I have for stories of this kind. But for the last month I know exactly what you mean, what you have experienced, the fear, the anger,the unreality of it all and how similar all of it is to me now.

I always maintained with my small community of ex-pat friends here in Istanbul that Taksim protests are closest in nature to 68 Democratic Convention unrest than Takhrir or others of similar nature, but that was before Brazil.

I don't know what Chicago has achieved, but Taksim seems to have done something.


1968 did end on a positive note with the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned space flight to reach the Moon.


Richard, off topic question, if you are still checking this thread. I heard you the other day on Ian Masters (they put the Col's picture up next to your name!)At the very beginning of your segment you made reference to a 'cyber incident' in San Diego. But then you quickly moved on. If you have the time, and it exists, could you please point me to any public info on the incident? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. Jonst


'68 was an interesting year. I, like the Col. & several others on the site, was having a Far East experience and focused on staying alive another day. One of my friends was a Company Commander at the Marine Barracks at 8th & I. While the DC riots raged, his Company in full combat gear with live rounds & CS gas was bivouacked in the basement of the Capital. The experience was enhanced by one of his Marines who accidentally set of a CS grenade. May you live in interesting times.

Peter Brownlee

Thank you for sharing this, Mr Sale. Will 1968 be seen as the 1848 of C20 with unruly populaces being squashed by adamantine authorities, mostly successfully over time? I was in school (so doing nothing) and still remember my father telling me that Soviet tanks were in Czechoslovakia -- what WAS going to happen next? And was de Gaulle totally surprised by 1968 since his policy seemed largely based on the principle of "apres moi, moi" -- and see where M. Cohn-Bendit is now! As an aside, what would have happened if those Chicago bottles been turned into Molotov cocktails (http://chemistry.about.com/od/firecombustionchemistry/a/molotovcocktail.htm)? I usually take MCs to be the hallmark of a really serious riot.

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