My wife and I were both stationed at Travis Air Force Base during the Riots of 1971. I went through four years of college during the Turbulent ’60s and never saw a disturbance or riot, until I joined the Air Force. I was in my barracks when the California State Police rioted and ran through our barracks swinging billy clubs at anyone and everyone. My take on what happened was certainly different than the official government releases.
The following links are what I could find available on the net:
Air Force Times “Family Magazine” 18 Aug 1971 pp. 4 – 7, 19
I nevertheless contend that racial discrimination was still rampant even into the early 1970’s to the extent that it resulted in mayhem on several bases; the most serious being a race riot on Travis Air Force Base that lasted for three days (May 22 thru 24, 1971), resulted in 1 dead and 30 injured, and effectively shut down base operations. [_link_] Of this riot, Major Alan M. Osur has written:
It is my belief that the race riot at Travis Air Force Base, California, in May 1971 was the final push that once and for all gave DOD the indication that something had to be done. The timing seemed too perfect.That “something” was finally that the “Defense Race Relations Institute (DRRI) was established at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, in June 1971.” (op. cit.)
Finally, Osur writes the military brass had knowledge of racial problems, and that the 1971 Travis AFB riot probably could have been prevented if military leadership had been more responsive:
Letters and memoranda throughout the Air Force warned commanders of a potential for racial difficulties and suggested communication, dialogue, and discussion. At Travis, conditions resembled the ghetto environment described in the Kerner Commission Report, and there had been complaints by blacks of racial problems on and off base. Also apparent was the impersonality, insensitivity, and indifference of commanders at various levels of the chain of command.