Incidence of Violence On Board U.S. Navy Ship – 10/12/1972

US History |

ADVERTISEMENT

On October 12, 1972, racial violence breaks out on board a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Kitty Hawk. The riot involved more than 100 sailors, where it ended with several men being injured while the ship was en route to the station in Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. The main reason for the riot’s breakout was when a black man was questioned about a supposed squabble that took place during the crew’s liberty (authorized absence) in Subic Bay, Philippines. The sailor refused to answer the questions. He and his friends were later caught up in a fight that left about sixty men being injured. Only the 26 black men who were involved in the brawl were charged with assault and rioting. They were obliged to appear before a court-martial in San Diego.

Four days after the USS Kitty Hawk incident, a similar occurrence happened on board the USS Hassayampa, a fleet oiler docked in Subic Bay. The group of 12 black sailors told officers that someone in the group apparently stole the money from one of them and demanded its return. They told officers that they would not sail when the ship was to go out to sea unless their demand was met. The acting leader of the ship failed to address the situation in a timely manner. Later that day, a group of seven white men decided to beat the black sailors to teach them a lesson. Peace was restored on board only after help came from a Marine detachment. Only six black sailors involved were charged with assault and rioting.

The incidents on board the two ships clearly showed that racial problems in the Navy were rampant. All services had similar incidents but the Navy was clearly the worst in controlling the said social issues, as seen in what happened on board the Kitty Hawk and the Hassayampa. The racial injustice was recognized by Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, and instituted that new race relations programs be made. This led to significant changes in the Naval Regulations, where black sailors’ will already have room to be heard.

Share On Facebook

Mike Sexton

Chief Editor

I have always had a passion for writing since a young age and can still remember the first time a teacher assigned us to create our own newspaper it was my favorite project. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and loved learning about new topics. I knew I found my new passion and as soon as I stepped foot on UCLA my mind was made up. Since getting my degree I have done all types of writing and love the freedom it gives me to work from anywhere. I hope you all love my writing as I am excited to produce quality articles each day for you!