Presidio 27: "Mutiny" at the Stockade

On October 14, 1968, some 27 prisoners in the Presidio Stockade broke ranks during roll call formation, sat down in a circle in the grassy yard, joined arms, and asked to present a list of demands to the stockade commander that addressed the treatment of fellow prisoners and the conditions inside.

What they did that day, and their subsequent trials for mutiny, made headlines, shocked the Army and the nation, and brought the GI movement onto the national stage. Discover how it happened.

1. Introduction

Today’s story is tied to a story of military service: in this context, we will travel back in time to the Presidio of San Francisco in 1968, during the Vietnam War. What happened here, during three eventful days in October, became a defining moment…

2. Go “inside”

Skip the text? Jump to ↘media Right now, the GIs being held inside are (with some exceptions) not anti-war activists, nor are they particularly political. For most, their military offense is going AWOL. The typical age is just 19 years old; their…

3. Order and Command in the 6th Army

Skip the text? Jump to ↘media He is remembered by men who served under him as a conscientious and honorable leader. A graduate of West Point, the Army was his whole life. Outspoken and all Army, Gen. Larsen found political dissent of any kind…

4. GI and Vets March for Peace – Oct. 12

Skip the text? Jump to ↘media Yet the strong support network who had encouraged Keith’s protest — of family, friends, and political allies — had not forgotten about him. Even more of the public heard about his protest through the widespread coverage…

5. Disobeying orders. Mutiny?

Click the Play button below for this audio chapter! We invite you to close your eyes and transport yourself back to a tense day in October 1968.

6. Other prisoners did not participate

Skip the text? Jump to ↘media The Presidio 27 drew inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement they’d seen on TV — they sang We Shall Overcome, after all. And yet it is notable that their act of civil disobedience reveals a more complicated reality…

7. Facing the Consequences

Skip the text? Jump to ↘media After the sitdown demonstration, the Presidio 27 went back into the stockade to face the unknown consequences of their actions. Michael “Mole” Marino, Larry Reidel, Larry Zaino, Ricky Dodd, Rowland, Mather and…

8. Ripples out of the Presidio

Skip the text? Jump to ↘media It was years later, and only after great personal hardship and time spent in federal prison, that the military overturned the convictions of those tried and reduced their sentences. In the end, the appeals judge found…