These Soldiers Disobeyed Commands To Stand In Solidarity With Black Protesters

fort hood service men standing together
Zain Murdock
March 28, 2024

In August 1968, Black soldiers incarcerated for escaping combat revolted at Long Binh Jail in Vietnam. On August 23, Black soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, resisted the carceral and military state at home. 

They had been assigned to “riot control” at Chicago’s Democratic National Convention.

That morning, 43 men sat in the grass at an intersection. Again and again, officials ordered them to return to their barracks before boarding the Illinois-bound plane. Again and again, they refused.

Like the protesters they were to confront, many of these men were from low-income Black neighborhoods. “The people we are supposed to control, the rioters, are probably our own race,” one soldier said. “We shouldn’t have to go out there and do wrong to our own people.”

This refusal came at a price.

Military police arrested the soldiers, beating those resisting incarceration. Loss of pay, demotions, courts martial and months of hard labor came next. But, fearful of a larger rebellion, the Army avoided imposing the harshest sentences. 

At the DNC, thousands of protesters filled the streets. Hundreds were arrested, but their voices rang loud and clear.

In 2024, the DNC will be in Chicago again. Rage at U.S. militarism, policing, and injustice is boiling. What kinds of solidarity and resistance could be evoked in the spirit of the Fort Hood 43?

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