Gangs around the U. S is a well-known threat to our way of life. Gangs in the military can be traced back to the civil war, with the creation of the KKK. After the war, soldiers would wear their white cloth and run around pretending to be ghosts of dead soldiers. After WWII, soldiers were looking for an outlet and unable to adjust back into society, they became hell raisers and from there the hell angels were born. During the Vietnam war, due to the draft the military took people off the streets that normally they wouldn’t allow in. Today, there are hundreds of street gangs throughout the U.
S that account for many of the crimes such as murder, rape, robberies, drive by shootings, and vandalism. A common place you may come across these types of gangs are in large citys such as L. A, Chicago, and New York City and among many poor ghettos throughout the country. A new kind of gang threat that not many people are aware of, is the active gang member in our armed forces. Gang members in the military is a new threat on which the American people have yet to see. Twenty-two gang members have been located in the elite fighting forces of the U.
S Army 82nd Airborne located at Fort. Bragg. The military implemented the rule, that no soldier can have ties to any group that associates with violence, but the report still in place today says nothing about street gangs. It is up to the judgement of the soldier’s commander to act when noticing gang signs or gang colors. Regulation do prohibit obscene tattoo and body piecing and throwing hand signs, or flying colors. However having a gang tattoo does not mean automatic rejection from the armed services. Because active gang membership is a protected right under the 1st amendment.
A Report released by the Department of Defense(DOD) stated among the 2. 5 million military soldiers, there are ruffly 10,000 (1%) active gang member distributed throughout the armed forces. Those 10,000 Soldiers is compared to one large military base. There is an estimated to be only three to four military bases that holds 10,000 soldiers or more. In January 2007, The FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center report stated that “Gang activity in the military is increasing, and the number of gang-related crimes involving soldiers and their families nearly tripled from fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2006”.
Nearly every major street gang has been identified on every U. S military base. The DOD stated “they are dealing with the problem of the armed forces being compromised by street gangs”. A former DOD gang investigator tells the truth about how the DOD mind set on this issue, is to pretend like its not even there. With the war effects overseas, some army recruiters have been known to conceal recruits’ gang affiliation to help boost their enlistment numbers. The war plays a major role in the military gang related problems.
In 2007 alone, the military has granted over 9,000 so called moral waiver for felony charges, the highest in history. This is made so, because as long as the recruiter is convinced that the recruit has cut ties with the gang, that is all that is required. That causes a problem because gang members loyalty is with the gang and not Uncle Sam. They have their own code to live by, and that code doesn’t change once they sign up, they die for and by that code. Stated in a released report by the FBI, gang members join for very few reasons: 1.
To escape their current environment or gang lifestyle. 2. To receive weapons, combat, and convoy support training. This is a major security risk, it gives the gang members access to weapons, and explosives. The military trains the soldiers on how to set ambushes, home invasions, and how to win an assault with heavy firepower. This gives a whole new meaning to basic training. The gang members are not serving for the red, white and blue. Gang members can start selling drugs, look for other friendly or rival gang members, they can start establish new clicks in the military.
Once discharged, gang members may and often do employ their military training on the streets, and teach their training to other gang members to use against law enforcement. Law enforcement officers are not trained for such situations, and on the streets many times will lose the fight when faced a well trained military killing machine. A 2006 news interview revealed that a Marine, who was a King Cobra member, stationed at MCAS Camp,” taught members of his gang how to engage in military-style ambush and how to position themselves for tactical advantage.
He further admitted that he joined the Marines to learn how to shoot guns”. Such training could result in more organized, sophisticated and deadly gangs, as well as an increased in deadly assaults. A May 2006 interview with a former Marine and Gangster Disciple member in Colorado, detailed how easily soldiers who were gang members have stolen military weapons and equipment and used them on the streets or sold them to civilian gang members. On January 9, 2005, in Ceres, CA, a gunman opened fire with a SKS on 3 police officers, leaving one officer wounded and one dead.
The assassin was 19 year old gang member Andreas Riah of MS-13 who dreamed of being a marine, after high school he joined the military. After a 7 month tour in Iraq driving supply trucks, and witnessing an IED attack which left him with temporary hearing lose, he returned home with honors. Once home he went back to his gang life, high on cocaine and used his military training, he had set up an ambush on police at a nearby George’s Liquors Store. The gunman went into the store and told the worker to call 911 due to fake gun shots.
Keeping in mind what he learned about weapons usage, line of fire, and movement. These things were taught to every marine and learned as if it was life and death. Using a technique called slicing the pie, a tactic the military uses by moving side to side aggressively, while flanking the target to overwhelm the police officers with superior fire power, the guide lines on which the military teaches on how to overcome enemy fire. This situation could have been far worse, if the gang member would have taken his knowledge of war tactic from the war school of the military itself, and trained others on the street.
Instead of one gang member using military tactics against police, there could have been an entire army of gang. Vietnam Vet Det. Richard Valdeman, L. A. County Sheriff’s Dept. (RET) Says: Its scary and very dangerous. Most police agencies are not prepared for this and many police officers are not trained to deal with. That could pose a huge psychological advantage on gang members. Many police officers on a day to day basic deal with one on one fighting, if this was the case, the police officer would lose, not because he isn’t strong enough, but because the gang member is better trained in those situations.
As one former gang member who was in the military admits “ And there’s no doubt in my mind that they intend on taking the tactics back to the street ‘ [Identification Unknown]. Some people may assume a sense of safety while living on or near a military base, in the past five years there has been a huge increase in gang related crimes on or near the bases. Such crimes range from drive by shootings, extortion, and money laundering. The saying what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas also implies to what happens on base stays on base.
Since 2004, the FBI and El Paso Police Department have identified over 40 military-affiliated Folk Nation gang members stationed at the Fort Bliss Army Installation in Texas, who have been involved in drug distribution, robberies, assaults, weapons offenses, and a homicide and nearly 130 gang and extremist group members have been identified on the Fort Lewis, Washington, Army Installation since 2005. These crimes from military gang members can be found as far away as Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Iraq.
This proves a new globalization of gangs due to members being stationed all around the world. In their training they are tough recruiting skills, gangs such as MS-13, Latin Kings, 18th street, Hells angels, Gangster Disciples, Cribs and bloods are using those skills all around the world during their military deployment. In the war zone of Iraq you can find graffiti of all the major U. S street gangs. Armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls have been spray painted with gang symbols.
In Germany, July 4, 2005, a soldier is being prosecuted for the murder of Sgt. Juwan Johnson, at which took place allegedly during Gangster Disciple initiation in Kaliserslautern. This type of problem puts our national security at risk. When a gang member acts out, no one sees him as a gang member, but only as U. S military soldier. This poses a risk to foreign policy and to security abroad. The military has yet to come up with a good strong definition of what a gang member is, and in till they do they can’t enforce anything.
By leaving it up to each military base to make the choice on its own, is unacceptable and as result leaves many issue unresolved. The problem with gangs in the military doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in the near future, its a major concerned that needs to be address and kept a close eye on. The U. S military needs to raise their standards on recruits before more gang members teach the skills and tactics of a well organize fighting force. In no way do I suggest that the other brave 99% of the service men and women around the world are in anyway, dishonorable.