1969 Soldiers Protest Mutiny Charges against the Presidio 27

Soldiers Protest March to the San Francisco Presidio

GIs March to the San Francisco Presidio, 1969

GIs March to the San Francisco Presidio, 1969

On October 12, 1968, GI’s for Peace organized and led a march in San Francisco to end the war in Vietnam. Active duty soldiers protest in uniform in full defiance of U.S. Army orders not to do that led the march and spoke openly at the rally in front of City Hall.   The march reflected the increased numbers of soldiers rebelling against the war. During 1968, there were 155,536 individuals who were Away Without Leave (AWOL) from the  U.S. Army.  Of those 53,357 were designated desertions.  On October 14, 1968, two days after the march, 27 prisoners in the Presidio brig staged a sit down protest over conditions there.  Newspaper headlines read “Mutiny in the Presidio”.  The sit down protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” and were charged with desertion with a possible death penalty.  One of the Presidio 27 remembered the events here.   The film “Sir, No Sir!” by David Ziegler is about these events. Harvey Richards’ film No Greater Cause filmed these brave soldiers speaking at the rally.  David Ziegler’s film contains their reflections about their experiences 30 years later. In early 1969, the mutiny trials of the Presidio 27 in San Francisco, CA, began in small groups of 3 or 4 prisoners.  When the first trials resulted in convictions with 14, 15, and 16 year sentences, community outrage followed.  GI’s put together a march to the Presidio on April 6, 1969 to support the imprisoned GIs.  Harvey Richards photographs of these events are presented in the gallery on this page.

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All images are copyrighted © Paul Richards 2001-2013.


1969 Soldiers Protest Mutiny Charges against the Presidio 27 — 2 Comments

  1. I was at this march to the presidio..march 1969… I had only been in SF for a few wks.. arriving about the 1st of Feb.. ( winter in Carson City with my aunt, and the previous summer’68 in Htown)…Before SF, I visited my dad’s full sister in Jackson CA..then Bus to Oaktown…Berk/SF…long journey.

    I marched from Civic Center, and was proud.. I carried a CHE flag, that I had gotten while I was in Htown thru an ad in RAMPARTS..Someone took a photo of me with the CHE flag on Lombard Street, juxtaposed to a McDonalds Billboard. I would love to have a copy of that if anyone has the photo.

    … ( incidentally, photography has been an interest of mine, as again my Uncle Larry Cooper. below.. took some historical photos 1949, and earlier of the 1st cousin of his wife…her cousin and their shared grandmother Nancy Smothers Nelson ( grandmother nelson fondly)..She is the one who raised both Bobbie and Willie Nelson

    thank you for these historical photos

    I was an avid reader, inheriting some genes of this order from my dad and my uncle ( Lawrence Cyril Cooper) who had some of his poetry published in the mid 80s in an Arkansas Anthogoly.. ( thru the mother of his children…Aunt Sibyl NELSON-NICHOLS-COOPER etal …)…

    thank you for these historical photos Paul Richards… without these memories few realize that we did MARCH and PROTEST, it seemed daily…

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