From the Citizen Soldier side: The Rodney King “Festivities” or, the Los Angeles Riots of 1992
In the old days of the California Army National Guard, we used to say there were four season, Floods, Fires, Earthquakes and Riots. Now we have the fifth season- Wars. Today’s story is about one of the riots.
I was a member of the California Army National Guard and a full time police officer in 1992 (Oh, I still am)
In 1992, the Los Angeles Police Department had a known dirt bag attempt to evade arrest. He ran but got caught. And, when caught, he got a good ass whoppin’. The public was “shocked” but such an event. I’m not here to discuss the police work in that case, but the response some of the public had to the fact that the cops were found “Not guilty.” A series of riots followed.
The dirt bag low lifes were setting things on fire, looting, and killing citizens. It was going out of control fast.
The local cops were soon overwhelmed, so the governor called up the Army National Guard- and estimated 4,000 troops were called up. By the time the riots were over, 53 people were dead, with thousands injured…and over One Billion Dollars in property damage. Now, tell me how this did one thing to help anybody but the looters.
At that time, I was in a Combat Engineer company. We got called late Thursday night and were told to come in early Friday and be ready to go for up to two weeks.
I was one of the first squad leaders go come in that Friday morning. As soon as I walked in, the company First Sergeant saw me and said: “Good, you’re here. Start a training plan for riot control missions.”
Since I was a cop, most of the Army folks just assumed I knew everything about crowd control and stuff. Up to that point, I had only had a little bit of training on that topic….but I pulled out the Field Manuals and started reading.
Since we were all told to come in before breakfast, we came in hungry… and the supply sergeant, being a lazy sort, had not taken steps to have food ordered to feed us. He didn’t even have a few cases of MREs stashed.
By lunch time, we still had not been fed, so a few of the other NCOs and myself jumped into my truck and went and picked up pizza for our platoon. When we returned, the supply sergeant began yelling at us…telling us that he was working on getting lunch. I asked: “What about breakfast you useless f—k?”
We continued riot training all through the day…by dinner time, the supply sergeant was “still working on getting the troops lunch.” So, a few of us high speed NCOs snuck out again and got the troops more pizza. (hey, pizza was cheap, close and the quickest food we could obtain.)
Again, when we returned with dinner, the supply sergeant started to bitch at us again…he claimed that we were “making him look bad.” I told him he didn’t need any help with that, as he was doing great on his own.
To be continuted
Side note on awards and medals: I've always advised any troops assigned to work for me: "Don't expect to get any f--king medals working with me. We'll do good work, but others will get the awards....that's OK, because the medals ain't why we do this shit."