Gang activity in the Military?

Gang activity in the Military?

Al Ritter

According to the : “Gang-related activity in the US Armed Forces is increasing. Although gang members constitute only a fraction of military personnel nationwide, their presence can compromise installation security and force protection both internally and externally. Gang members in the military can disrupt good order and discipline and threaten military operations. Gang membership in the ranks may also result in a disruption of command, low morale, disciplinary problems, and a broad range of criminal activity. Gang-affiliated military personnel and dependent gang-affiliated children of service members facilitate crime on and off military installations, and are at risk of transferring their weapons and combat training back to the community to employ against rival gang members and law enforcement officers.”

“Members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been documented on military installations both domestically and internationally. These members are present in most branches and across all ranks of the military, but are most common among the junior enlisted ranks.
The US Army, Army Reserves, and National Guard are likely to have the most enlisted gang members because they are either the largest branches of the military, the service is part-time, or they tend not to be as selective as the other branches of the armed services. Estimates are difficult to obtain because many gang-related incidences are reported as conduct matters and are not within the investigative purview of criminal investigative services. However, the US Army’s recent adoption of the National Crime Information Center definition of “gangs” and “gang membership” may contribute to an increase in reporting of gang-related incidents.”

There is no question that gangs ARE in our Military, soldiers in the theatre are instructed not to discuss the problem, and the press has been instructed that they may not photograph or film the “gang tagging” (graffiti) on walls in Afghanistan. The big question is…..does the military condone or in a worst case scenario, do they actively recruit gang members?

In February 2006, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was "a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms 'serious criminal misconduct' in their background," this includes, "aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats." From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.

In 2004 the Pentagon did a “Moral Waiver” study, in a move to increase a declining enlistment role. Certain waivers could be issued for past behavior of potential recruits.

After Steven Green, who served in the 101st Airborne Division, was charged in a rape and quadruple murder in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, it was disclosed that he had been "a high-school dropout from a broken home who enlisted to get some direction in his life, yet was sent home early because of an anti-social personality disorder."

In one reported case, they (Army) went to a "youth prison" in Ogden, Utah. Although Steven Price had asked to see a recruiter while still incarcerated, he was "barely 17 when he enlisted in January 2005 "and his divorced parents say "recruiters used false promises and forged documents to enlist him," confusion exists about whether the boy's mother actually signed a parental consent form allowing her son to enlist, but his father apparently wasn't even at the signing, but his name is on the form too.

Early in 2006, a reported transfer of 10,000 to 20,000 troops to Fort Bliss, Texas, caused FBI and local law enforcement to fear a turf war between "members of the FolkNation gang.

Investigators have identified a network of neo-Nazi active-duty Army and Marine personnel spread across five military installations in five states. "They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities secret, about organizing within the military," he said.

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