Camp Lejeune incident

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Camp Lejeune Incident)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Camp Lejeune incident refers to the outbreak of hostilities between black and white enlisted Marines at an NCO Club near Camp Lejeune, on the evening of July 20, 1969.[1][2] It left a total of 15 Marines injured, and one, Corporal Edward E. Blankston, dead.[1] It was subsequently investigated by the military,[3] and led to widespread changes in military race relations and policy.[4]


In 1969 the make up of the base was 14% black,[1] though the number in certain combat infantry battalions was over 25%.[1] Most of the Black Marines were drafted from poor, rural communities from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Most of the white Marines were recruited from similarly underprivileged and rural communities from Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.

Sequence of Events[edit]

Aftermath and Official Report[edit]

One black marine, a decorated veteran of Vietnam, who was branded a "militant", or troublemaker, on the base, told a newsman that he had grown tired of trying to make it in the Corps and being thwarted by discriminatory practices. "You get tired of trying behind that action," he said. "One day Chuck [white people] gets down wrong and you try to take that beast's head off."
The New York Times, August 17, 1969[5]

An investigation conducted by Col. Louis S. Holler for the military after the incident indicated that the source of the incident stemmed from "a general lack of compliance on the part of officers and noncommissioned officers with the existing policies, either by intent, in spirit, or through ignorance",[3] that "many white officers and noncommissioned officers retain prejudices and deliberately practice them"[3] and that "the Marine Corps, are returning Marines, both black and white, to civilian society with more deeply seated prejudices than were individually possessed upon entrance to service."[3] In response to this and other racial incidents, the military made "a "concerted effort to encourage opportunities for cultural diversity and racial pride amongst minority groups.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Stillman (1974), p.221
  2. ^ "3 Marines Hurt in Lejeune Fight". The New York Times. July 24, 1969. p. 41. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Text of Camp Lejeune Committee's Report to Commanding General". The New York Times. August 10, 1969. p. 67. 
  4. ^ Stillman (1974), pp.221-229
  5. ^ Johnson, Thomas A. (August 17, 1969). "Armed Forces: Racial Violence Mars Integration Record". The New York Times. p. E6. 
  6. ^ Stillman (1974), p.222
  • Stillman II, Richard (May–June 1974). "Racial Unrest in the Military: The Challenge and the Response". Public Administration Review. 34 (3).