"In 1966, the Navy discharged 170 drug offenders. Three years later (1969), 3,800 were discharged. Last year in 1970, the total jumped to over 5,000.I remember we had this trailer in the parking lot of the PX, and it was a head shop. Really. It had incense burning, blacklight posters (my first), cool hippie digs (my brother bought this really cool, long leather fringed vest), and there wasn't anything like that off post.
Drug abuse in the Pacific Fleet--with Asia on one side, and kinky California on the other--gives the Navy its worst headaches. To cite one example, a destroyer due to sail from the West Coast last year for the Far East nearly had to postpone deployment when, five days before departure, a ring of some 30 drug users (over 10 percent of the crew) was uncovered.
Only last week, eight midshipmen were dismissed from the Naval Academy following disclosure of an alleged drug ring. While the Navy emphatically denies allegations in a copyrighted articles by the Annapolis Capitol that up to 12,000 midshipmen now use marijuana, midshipman sources confirm that pot is anything but unknown at Annapolis.
Yet the Navy is somewhat ahead in the drug game because of the difficulty in concealing addiction at close quarters abroad ship, and because fixes are unobtainable during long deployments at sea.
The Air force, despite 2,715 drug investigations in 1970, is in even better shape: its rate of 3 cases per thousand airmen is the lowest in the services.
By contrast, the Army had 17,742 drug investigations the same year. According to Col. Thomas B. Hauschild, of the medical Command of our Army forces in Europe, some 46 percent of the roughly 200,000 soldiers there had used illegal drugs at least once. In one battalion surveyed in West Germany, over 50 percent of the men smoked marijuana regularly (some on duty), while roughly half of those were using hard drugs of some type.
What these statistics say is that the Armed Forces (like their parent society) are in the grip of a drug pandemic--a conclusion underscored by the one fact that, just since 1968, the total number of verified drug addiction cases throughout the Armed Forces has nearly doubled. One other yardstick: according to military medical sources, needle hepatitis now poses as great a problem among young soldiers as VD.
At Ft. Bragg, the Army's third largest post, adjacent to Fayetteville, N.C. (a garrison town whose conditions one official likened to New York's "East Village" and San Francisco's "Haight-Ashbury") [and which soldiers called "Fayettenam"--DF] a recent survey disclosed that 4% (or over 1,400) of the 36,000 soldiers there are hard-drug (mainly heroin and LSD) addicts. In the 82nd Airborne Division, the strategic-reserve unit that boasts its title of "America's Honor Guard", approximately 450 soldier drug abusers were being treated when this reporter visited the post in April. About a hundred were under intensive treatment in special drug wards."
"They have set up separate companies," writes an American soldier from Cu Chi, quoted in the New York Times, "for men who refuse to go into the field. Is no big thing to refuse to go. If a man is ordered to go to such and such a place he no longer goes through the hassle of refusing; he just packs his shirt and goes to visit some buddies at another base camp. Operations have become incredibly ragtag. Many guys don't even put on their uniforms any more.... The American garrison on the larger bases are virtually disarmed. The lifers have taken our weapons from us and put them under lock and key.... There have also been quite a few frag incidents in the battalion."And crime, incompetent leadership,...Yeah, it's the Army I remember. I didn't understand the severity of it at the time, but yeah, remember.