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The Kent State University Massacre: A Military Analysis

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Author Topic: The Kent State University Massacre: A Military Analysis  (Read 392 times)
Bad Penny
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« on: April 05, 2011, 12:19:18 am »

The events at Kent State University at Kent, Ohio, on May 4th have been analyzed from many viewpoints, but, so far as I know, have never been subjected to forensic analysis from a military perspective.  Here's my attempt to rectify this situation.

It has been said that the Ohio National Guardsmen of A Co, 1st Bn, 145th Rgt, US Inf and G Trp, 2nd Sqn, 107th Rgt, US Amd Cav. believed themselves to be endangered by the large mass of students they faced, which may be true, but this cannot explain the shooting.  The guardsmen had just cleared the students from an assembly area known as "The Commons" and had driven them over a rise known as Blanket Hill into an area containing parking lots for Taylor and Prentice Halls.  They became susceptible to being surrounded when they advanced from Blanket Hill upon an athletic field on the opposite end of the parking lot area.  Having gained the athletic field, the guardsmen lingered for some time, and then, appreciating the vulnerability of that position, advanced upon Blanket Hill once again, effecting a tactical retreat.  Gaining the military crest (the line at which the concave, lower portion of a hill meets the convex, upper portion of a hill) of Blanket Hill, over one-third of the guardsmen wheeled around and opened fire.  The military crest of a hill is the place where tactical manuals suggest you form your firing line to deliver fire upon an enemy below you.  The geographical crest of Blanket Hill, just feet away from the military crest, represented the threshold of safety from the threat of being surrounded.  The idea that the guardsmen, being just feet away from having completed their retreat to safety, suddenly felt themselves to be in mortal peril just at the point where your ROTC instructor would give you an "A" for forming your firing line is not tenable: it's clear that, for at least one man in the 77-man formation (the one with the .45 who was the first to wheel around and open fire), the advance upon Blanket Hill represented, not a retreat to safety, but an advance to a firing position.  That most of the guardsmen did not join in, combined with the fact that the overall commander of the little formation spent the entire thirteen seconds trying to get his men to cease fire, shows that the firing was not ordered or conspired.
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Bad Penny
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 07:32:33 am »

Here's an item I sent to another website:

Allow me to begin by expressing my deepest sympathy to you and to the families of all those wounded and killed in the events of 4 May 1970 in the utterly outrageous and inexcusable act for which that day will forever be held in infamy by every just society this planet will ever host.

I must, however, in the interest of keeping the historical [record (sorry: typo!)] free from any possible accusation of bias which the enemies of freedom might use to impugn the cause of peace and justice, indicate several problems I have with some people's interpretation of purported orders audible on the famous audiotape of that day's events.

First, I do not hear the word "guard" on the tape.  There are those who claim that the word "guard" would never be part of a military order, but this is false.  The word "guard" would be the opening of any order directed towards one standing static guard at some government installation, as a salutation informing the guard on duty to stand on the alert for some subsequent order.  The Ohio National Guard, on that day, were obviously not standing static guard duty, so an order including such a salutation would have been contextually nonsensical.

Further, the command "point" is clearly audible on the tape, and, once again, there are those who claim that such a word would never be part of any military order.  This claim is false, but the truth of it also renders the order irrelevant to a study of this atrocity; this command, once again, is a salutation directing the "point" (i.e., the man furthest forward in the formation) to be on the alert to receive some subsequent order, which the tape clearly proves was never actually issued.  As the men who turned and fired constituted the rear rank of the formation, the order was obviously not directed at them.  In no event was the command "point" an order to aim weapons: that order would have been "Aim!".

Indeed, the sequence of orders which would have caused the actions observed in the film footage would have been:

"Rear rank: HALT!"

"Rear rank: ABOUT FACE!"

"Rear rank: AIM!"

"FIRE!"

None of these commands are heard in the audiotape.

The point is that, in that time and place, armed soldiers fired upon unarmed protestors, which fact plainly constitutes an inexcusable abuse of state power by any rational standard.

Peace!

Robert
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Are you taking over?
Or are you taking orders?
I ain't going backwards!
We're going only forwards!

The Clash, White Riot
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