Anonymous (National Guardsman)
Recorded: May 2, 2000
Interviewed by Sandra Halem
Transcribed by Rhonda Rinehart and Craig Simpson
[Interviewer]: This is Sandra Halem. It's Wednesday, May the 2nd. Alright, you were just telling me a story which I think is a really important story for us to have as an academic institution in our archives -- people to understand. Let's back up a little bit and talk about -- you were in the Guard?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: It was the end of your -- ?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I had enlisted in the Guard in 1969 -- and gone into the Guard in '69. Dropped out of school. I was a Kent State student -- full time student. Dropped out of the Guard, and dropped out of school. Joined the Guard and received my training from July through November. And then I re-enrolled in school. This was a quarter system, that would have been Winter quarter of 1970. So I was enrolled as a student and I was also working at the time. And I was really, somewhat, just a private first class, in the Guard. And we were called out on the first active duty I had ever been on, which was a truck strike, and we were in Richfield, Ohio. I believe I was called out on Tuesday or Wednesday previous to that. I was preparing to go to class, and I received the call in my apartment to just get my equipment and report to the Akron armory in downtown Akron, at which time then we were taken to the Richfield area, and we patrolled the roads, the turnpike; Guard duty as such. Um, if I may say this, I found the striking truck drivers to be much more civilized than the students on campus. Uh, when we confronted the truck drivers and all, they were probably -- had better weapons and more weapons than we did. When we confronted the truck drivers, and they were told to disperse, they dispersed.
[Interviewer]: Now they did, that was, I do remember knowing that they had weapons and there was some firing, but you did not encounter any. . .
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No, we were to guard a convoy that came by. There was a bar on, um, I can't think of the name of the road, but there was a bar...and we were to guard the -- in front of the bar. And when we got there, there was no one outside the bar -- a lot of vehicles. When the trucks were approaching, probably 75 to 80 men came out carrying guns and sticks. And, there were about 20 of us, obviously outnumbered. We were armed, and we had, uh, uh, bullets. And our sergeant stood up and said "we're here to protect the truck drivers." And the one man who was obviously the leader of this group -- ad hoc, if you will -- turned to his group and said, "Men, we have no battle with these National Guardsmen. They're here doing a job; let's go back inside." And they did. And that was that, so . . . we were, uh, scared, yeah, I was. I can't speak for the rest of the men. We had conversations afterwards -- I know we were.
Later that week, I believe it was Saturday, we got called. There was -- they took us to the Akron Rubber Bowl armory, and we were assembled there and we had a meal there, and we were put in trucks. My captain, Captain Snyder at that time, came to me and said, "I understand you're a Kent State student." And I said, "Yes, I am. Actively enrolled." He said, "Well, you're gonna be in my jeep. You're goin' with me so you can show me around town." I lived in town and on campus, and he had a driver and himself and two of us in the back of the jeep.
[Interviewer]: What day was this? I'm sorry.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: This was Saturday.
[Interviewer]: This was the Saturday --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Saturday of the ROTC burning.
[Interviewer]: After the Friday night demonstrations.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Right. As we approached campus, which was evening, you could see on 76 -- we come up 76 -- we had the top down on the jeep -- we had the top down on all the trucks. Canvas tops. You could see the fire, the glow of the fire on 76 as we approached Kent, and my first though was, "My God, the whole town is burning. The whole campus." It was literally an orange glow in the sky.
[Interviewer]: I remember. It was scary. Hmm.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We came in on 43. It was our group, and the tail of our group began setting up road blocks behind us as we went along.
[Interviewer]: This is the group that's in town near North High School, correct?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No, no, we were in downtown Akron.
[Interviewer]: Oh, you had been in downtown.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And that building has essentially been torn down, that armory, and it's been moved to Stow. We were at that time designated -- we were the 145th infantry -- and were converted to the 107th armored calvary unit. At that time we were, of course, still the infantry unit, and that's what we were trained and designated as -- infantry. We had no tracks, no armor at all. No helicopters at that point in time. It was strictly armor, I mean, strictly infantry. As we approached campus, we met up with another group of the Guardsmen. We came in through town on 43. Made a quick tour of town and campus. One of the groups was designated to go over, we understood, from the radio -- I understood from the radio traffic, that the building was on fire, that the firefighters were receiving some type of intervention from students; having difficulty doing their job. They were outnumbered. At that time a unit was sent over -- I was not in that unit. We patrolled parts of campus. We set up, I can't think of the name of the school -- I've lived in this town for 25 years, and I can't think of the name of the school.
[Interviewer]: Walls School?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Walls School.
[Interviewer]: Because the young man came in the other day and told the story --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes, correct.
[Interviewer]: About the tank that cru-- that dented his jungle gym.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes. And we were put up in the gymnasium. At best they were horrible conditions because the lights were on and we constantly had troops coming and going, and we got little, if any sleep. You just couldn't sleep in that situation. We were on the floor. Not that as infantry we weren't used to that situation, it was just that we were -- understand we were civilians thrown into a situation that was a no sleep situation. Where we had not received much sleep before -- we were bivwacked in different armories and such up in the Richfield area and slept in trucks whenever we could. So our -- at least from my standpoint -- the amount of sleep I was getting was minimal.
We were then -- spent an hour or two there loading the trucks late Saturday, and did some perimeter -- if I recall, some perimeter type work in trucks driving around campus. Never entered campus that evening, the group I was with. I then transferred to a jeep and did some driving. Early Sunday morning, I was part of a five or six man group. We had received word that there were rumors they were going to poison the water supply at the old -- which is now -- but I think it's called Plum Creek or something now. Right across from the city maintainence building on Cherry and Mogadore at the corner there. My squad, which consisted of five or six men at that point in time, were deployed to guard that area. We were -- sergeant put me in a building -- another fella in a building.
I guess if I could tell an anecdote that is sort of funny. I called my wife -- my then-fiancee -- I said, "I'm over here, I haven't eaten; I want a real meal or something." And I said, "Could you bring me a meal?" And she said, "Sure." She was gonna stop and make some sandwiches or something. And I said, "I'll wait outside for you," and I said, "I'll flag you down." Well, there I was in uniform, with a helmet with an M1, waiting on Mogadore road. I spotted my wife coming down Cherry street and I waved at her, and seven cars pulled over. And people got out of their cars and put their hands up. I said, "No, no." -- maybe not seven, but three or four cars. And they thought -- but they were stopped...I swear every few blocks there was a road block. And I just motioned everybody to go on through. I think it was at that time that I first realized what it meant to be in a military uniform in a civilian situation. Because we'd been out of the jeeps, we'd patrolled, it was evening, it was dark the night before of course, and things were pretty well settled down. And that was early in the morning. That was eight or nine o'clock in the morning -- Sunday morning. And one couple said, "We're just simply goin' to church," and all this. And it hit me then of the fact that here's a town that is now under seige and the military -- just like we've seen in the movies our whole life, of going into a civilian town and uh, it -- it just hit me...Funny that I stood there and reflect upon it thinking, "My God, here's -- here I am, a 20-some-year-old kid with a gun, and people are pulling off to the streets for me." We stayed there 'til about noon -- we were to leave -- we went back and got a meal at the school. We rested a little bit. And then we were put in the jeep to patrol the area.
[Interviewer]: The town, or the --?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: The town. The town.
[Interviewer]: Right, because I remember them in the town, yeah.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And all we were doing was show-of-force type of thing. We were just driving through the streets, and I recall several experiences then which are interesting. We were down by the streets along the way there that was blocked off. Where the Party Fair and the state liquor store was, and there were some homes where a lot of college kids lived back then, and we were driving --
[Interviewer]: On that other side?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah, it's blocked off now. And we stopped at a stop sign and some kids came out on their porch and started throwing stuff at us -- bottles and stuff like that, and, and uh, a jeep pulled up behind us and I recall the one fella getting out and taking out his rifle and just pointing and said, "Who wants to be first?" And they all dispersed and went back into the crowd. We went two blocks later -- we stopped at a stop sign more up in town, close to the campus. And another jeep came and we stopped and we were talking, and another vehicle -- there were six or eight of us -- and I recall this very nice, grey-haired lady coming out of her house with a plateful of cookies, and saying, "Here guys," ya know, "here's some homemade cookies for you." So you went a matter of a hundred feet from one contrast of someone throwing something at you and calling you names and obscenities and giving you the finger, to an older lady coming out and offering you cookies -- ya know, from her home and town.
[Interviewer]: A great contrast.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: So, again, these are small things, yet they seem to linger. You know, later that evening -- Sunday evening --things got again back into the shift where there were crowds forming, and we were then called up onto campus and this had to be six, seven o'clock perhaps. And we were taken by truck over and split up, and we had two or three truckloads of us stopped and unloading in front of the then-University School. Bowman Hall I believe it was. We got there and we marched up to where the Business building is now, and we stopped for a while -- maybe a half hour, and we were in formation. It started to get evening, and we marched on over the hill to where the burned ROTC building was located. And I recall our captain saying, "We're gonna look mean and green when we go down there," and uh, "This is the big-time," and uh, "We're gonna march, and we're gonna march in cadence." As a National Guard unit we did not -- we were not the type of army that did a lot of regulated and regimented marching type of thing. We're just not that type of unit. But we did well, I think. When the pressure was on we marched on as -- probably not quite a full company strength -- maybe a three-quarter company strength or a little better. We marched down and we guarded the ROTC building, and there were still smoldering ashes, and we formed a perimeter around. And then it became dark. Very quickly a captain came through -- an officer -- I don't know if it was a captain or not, and said to us, "OK, men, suit up. Get ready." And we got in line, in a line, and port arms -- which we had the M1s -- port arms, and we were asked to check our ammunition. And the captain came along and said to us -- or an officer, I shouldn't say captain -- said to each of us that, "When the order is given to lock and load" -- which in Army lingo is, you take the ammunition out of your belt and you put it into the weapon, and you lock it and you put it on 'safe' -- "That you are to lock and load, but you are NOT" -- and he made it very clear, almost to each of us there going down the line -- "Do NOT under any circumstances fire unless you are given the order. And do not lock and load until you are told to lock and load." I don't believe that evening we had locked and loaded.
We all checked our ammunition -- and the M1 was a World War II military semi-automatic weapon. It had eight rounds of a thirty-odd-six calibur. And perhaps in a while I'll tell you why it was best we had M1s and not M16s. Had we had M-16s, I think the people who did the firing -- had they had M16s -- we would have had ten times the number. It's a weapon that is not a wounding weapon; it's a killing weapon. The M1 was a still-jacketed 30-odd-six high-velocity straight-shot round. We all checked; we all had a clip of 8 rounds with us. We stood there for a while. It got dark.
[Interviewer]: And at this point you were just all standing with unloaded -- but in a very, as you would say, show of force.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Shoulder to shoulder.
[Interviewer]: Around the perimeter - right.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Around the ROTC building
[Interviewer]: OK, I understand. In fact I think I was out there at one point in the evening.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: At that point it got dark, and we got the order to line up shoulder to shoulder and form a straight line somewhat behind the old Student Center and the ROTC building. We stood there about ten minutes and I was saying, "Why..." and people were running -- and our officers running back and forth, lining us up. And I couldn't figure out what was the big deal. It was dark -- a helicopter came over, shown a light on the hill where the Architecture building was, and there were several thousand kids up there. They were very quietly massed there.
[Interviewer]: On Taylor Hill.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And they started moving and shouting, "Here we come!" And they did. The [indescernible] were nervous, and I thought, "What are we gonna do now?" And a lot of thoughts ran through my mind. If we're told to lock and load are we going to fire, are we gonna protect our lives, are we going to run? A lot of things go through your mind. Not only as a civilian but as a soldier, as a ... You know you have two types of training. You have civilian training and you very quickly -- soldier training. One of the worst things you can do as a soldier is retreat. But then again, we were National Guard. So a lot of things go through your mind. A lot of the men that were in with me were my contemporaries, if you will, in age, in background -- a lot of rubber workers, some college students. No one of any significance or importance, just a group of men that were there for a common reason.
They marched on over from Taylor Hill as we passed that bell -- they were ringing that damn bell incessantly, I remember that.
[Interviewer]: The Victory Bell.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Right. They came down and they stopped, if I recall, about a hundred yards in front of us for some unknown reason. I don't know if it was because they saw us --or whatever reason -- we'll never know to this day perhaps. If I recall correctly at this point -- because then we were pulled out -- they started going back around the Student Center and down to the front of the campus.
[Interviewer]: You mean the old campus. Down to the front of the old campus.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Um-hum, right. By the library. By route 59 -- front campus.
At that point we were very quickly pulled back. Part of us were pulled back and we cut down through some buildings -- I don't recall the names of the buildings -- down over campus, and we more or less headed them off so to speak. Except, if I recall, we didn't do it real well because instead of just having students in front of us, now we had students in front of us and in back of us. And that was our mission, if you will, was to keep that main body -- that group that was on the campus from joining another body that was down on campus. So we acted as the buffer between.
It's at this point in time that I very quickly became aware of what was happening on Kent State University campus. I had been on this campus for four years -- there were a lot of people. I noted very quickly that the people as they approached the crowd were older people -- older men and women, a lot of which I had never seen on campus. They brought the crowd to us -- small groups, 50, 60, 80, 100 people -- they would bring the crowds to us. I know the faces. If I see them today, I would know their faces. Quickly they were in front of the crowd, they quickly dispersed, went around behind the crowd, locked hands -- this was a group of ten or fifteen people -- and pushed the crowd into us. So what were the leaders, dispersed and went behind the group and pushed them into us. This is the point where we got hit with rocks, human feces in plastic bags -- uh, we were given the finger, we were yelled at. Things came flying out of the air, it was weird. It was dark, but the light -- a lot of lights -- but things were flying out of the air. We laid some tear gas down, I recall laying some tear gas. One of my friends put some tear gas -- shot it across the street into a fraternity house or rooming house or boarding house where the old, where the --
[Interviewer]: Across Main street?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes, it was, um, there was a Burger Chef, I think, or some other restaurant name now. But there were some homes around there, and he laid a tear gas canister ... We had an M79 grenade launcher which would launch a -- looked like a pregnant .45 shell -- tear gas. It would launch tear gas a hundred yards. It wasn't meant to be an accurate weapon, it was meant to be an area weapon. We then laid some gas in some other parts of the crowd. A group came up holding a white flag -- three or four individuals holding a white flag -- and they said they wanted to talk to us. One individual was holding a white flag and there were two or three males with him, and the captain says, "Easy, easy, don't do anything. Maybe we can calm this crowd down." Maybe they were leaders -- they were waving a white flag -- and they got about 25 feet away from us and they unloaded with a barrage of rocks. So, it wasn't a sign of "let's talk." And the three out of the four men just delved into their pockets and started throwing rocks. The one officer at that point let a 79 grenade go, and hit a guy right in the shoulder with it. I know to this day, that guy's shoulder isn't right. It's then that I saw what we were dealing with. Again, these weren't -- now we're on campus -- and at this point in time, I think you have to recall in 1970, if you were here --
[Interviewer]: I was here.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: -- and I could be wrong here, but I think we were more of a traditional student campus.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We didn't have the older students that perhaps you do now. These were not traditional student-age student people. These were older. I say older then, to be 28, 30 -- that age group. We then dispersed that crowd with tear gas. We just got the order to lay down tear gas. They dropped some gas, if I recall, from the sky with a helicopter -- which is easy to do if you had a powdered form of CS -- you revved the blades up, and it very nicely -- the pressure from the blades spreads it out. Um, our gas masks were ill-fitting at best.
[Interviewer]: Were you always told to put the gas masks on?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: They would say, "Mask up." The order would come down, "Mask up."
[Interviewer]: When you knew -- when someone was given the order to disperse the gas?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes. You would put your rifle between your legs, take your gas mask out and put it on, and go from there -- ill-fitting, like I said, best--
[Interviewer]: [laughs] Probably World War I.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Double canister!
[Interviewer]: Yeah! Oh, right, I remember - of course.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: In some cases, single canister. But it depends, you have to recall the Guard at that time. There was still a war in Viet Nam -- we didn't have the equipment they do now. We got a hogde-podge of equipment, both in weaponry and in uniforms -- a lot of World War II, Korean War-type stuff, so... As you looked across campus, and you looked across units, you would see every type of uniform, every type of equipment you could imagine that we had -- depending on what you got.
We then that night moved the crowd. We were told to move the crowd -- we were actually told that we were going to stop the crowd from going downtown ... Which I knew some of the businessmen in town, and I -- believe me, to this day I think it's just as well because, believe me, they were better armed than we were, and had those students goin' downtown. And I think the authorities knew this -- that there were people sitting on rooftops on buildings -- and had those people moved on downtown to trash it again, there would have been gunfire, it was that simple.
[Interviewer]: I know many houses that had guns pointed in their windows those few days.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: It was that simple. It was like saving someone from themselves, I guess.
At that point when the gas was laid down and we started moving, you could see the group that was there for a party to see what was goin' on, quickly dispersed. They were outta there. They were gone. It's at that point that I saw the students again let go with the rocks--and men standing there waving their genitals at us, and women shouting obscenities ... and I was no virgin, and I was used to a lot of things, but not on my campus. And I looked at this and I said, "This gives me a whole different point of view on what's happening here again.
We then were separated -- there were some bushes, large bushes on campus -- I don't even know if they're still there or not -- we, when I say 'we,' a group of us eight or ten guardsmen were confronted -- we were to hold our ground. They were coming up literally as far as we are -- four or five feet away -- shouting, yelling, throwing things at us --
[Interviewer]: Now, we have been at Main street prior to that ... and now we're still moving toward Main street --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We're still moving up -- toward downtown on campus.
[Interviewer]: You're still on campus.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: On campus, almost in line with the library. Rockwell, if you will.
[Interviewer]: Right, OK.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And we're moving -- it would move and stop, move and stop.
[Interviewer]: At Lincoln and Main street, kind of -- at that corner, that crossroads. Which is actually the beginning of campus.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: The crowd behind us seemed somewhat to disperse. We laid some gas back there, and that group I think was there to see what was going on. They didn't seem to follow us. They stayed back. We put some gas back, and if I recall, that group somewhat dispersed. Again, we had helicopters in the sky -- a lot of radio traffic, a lot of bullhorns. A lot of confusion. We did what they call a stutter step -- at least that's what I call it -- I forget what the military term is -- where you put your rifle down at your side and you step up. We did about thirty feet of that, I guess, or so. I think at that point in time that got a lot of people's attention because they saw that we weren't going to be intimidated, and we moved. I don't know if you call it intimidation, but you're given an order and you do it, and at that point in time -- again, this is a group of civilians that went into the military. I think at that point in time things sort of clicked that we all sort of said, "We're in the military now, and we gotta do what we're told to do." And we did it.
It's at that point in time that we got separated from our group by the bushes -- our main group. We were off by our side -- there was a group of 15 or 20 people that were really intimidating about four or five of us. We were down in numbers.
[Interviewer]: This may be the large bushes that were back of Rockwell.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Right.
[Interviewer]: I think they were kind of ringing that area before.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Then we got the order to move them out, and we moved them out and we laid down some heavy gas. I remember they came in with us and they came in with a chopper, and then we laid down some heavy gas. [Pause]. This is the difficult part. We got separated from our main group by sheer physical location. We came around the corner --
[Interviewer]: When you came around the corner of Rockwell?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --Rockwell, in the back. That's the only way we could get around. Again we had to fix the bayonnettes, and we ended up confronting a group of people there that were cornered.
[Interviewer]: They were cornered and you accidentally actually happened upon them, is what you're saying.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Exactly correct. We came around to fall back in the group.
[Interviewer]: Wow. Surprise.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: It got ugly. OK, we had bayonets and they didn't. Umm --
[Interviewer]: Was there a moment of what you believe could have resulted if you -- if either side had moved into a violent confrontation with bayonets?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: It did. It did.
[Interviewer]: Was someone stabbed at that point?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: Now, I don't ever remember hearing about that.
[Interviewer]: Was someone wounded?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Um hum.
[Interviewer]: Were they taken away to the hospital?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: They ran. They were stabbed -- one was stabbed in the hand.
[Interviewer]: And then it was dispersed after that?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: It was pinned against the building. They ran the bayonet through his hand into the building. [Pause]. OK? Another individual was slashed.
[Interviewer]: Were these incidents -- when you say you came upon each other in that moment, which must have been terribly frightening for both of you if you were close -- was it just a spontaneous --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes, I mean -- it was the same group, you could tell by dress, as I could tell how you're dressed. Although it was dark -- a lot of lights. You have to realize the helicopters were there --
[Interviewer]: Yeah, I remember.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: -- the campus lights were on, a lot of high-intensity light. When they were taunting us -- five, six feet away -- again, throwing things at us, human feces in plastic bags and what we thought to be urine -- it was some liquid in a plastic bag -- sticks, stones, rocks, whatever, have you. When we confronted them, and came around the corner and they had nowhere to go -- and we weren't chasing them -- again, it just -- we broke off and went around the side... The same group that was very mouthy and loud in a large group began begging and pleading for their lives, "Don't hurt us, please, we didn't mean any harm." And it was the same group, older individuals, it was not the 19, 20-year-old college students.
[Interviewer]: So how large a group would you say? Ten?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Six or eight.
[Interviewer]: Six or eight. All male?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No, a couple females -- heavy-set females, if I recall. Um, one female almost got hysterical, yelling at her boyfriend, "I told you we shouldn't be here! We should have never come to town! Now look what's gonna happen to us!"
We had masks on, we were anonymous. We had taken our name tags off our jackets. We were anonymous [Pause, softer] at that point in time. Um, there were some happenings there, ah -- I don't know who the fella was down from me, but I recall him putting a bayonnette to a man's nose and saying, "I know your face, but you don't know mine. If I ever see you again this is gonna go in your head." Um, I think the man urinated himself right there on the spot. He had no where to go, no where to run, he was up against the wall with his hands up. And I don't recall ever seeing him again or whatever, but you have to realize -- I'm not saying we were right or we were wrong, but you have to realize the situation that you get into emotionally.
[Interviewer]: What you're describing, though, is a very -- as you said, this was your campus, this was a college campus. This is the way -- I mean, one does not expect ... What you're describing is a military -- definitely military terms, you know...
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We were told in no uncertain terms --
[Interviewer]: It must have been very disconcerting to you who was the college student. It's like turning the whole thing upside down.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We were told in no uncertain terms that we were not to run, we were not to fold, that we were there to preserve the peace. And again, at that point in time, you have to realize the war was on, and there was a lot of polarization for or against. And we had several men in the National Guard that were totally against Viet Nam.
[Interviewer]: And that had signed up to, in fact, make sure they didn't have to go.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And I went into the National Guard -- I was paying my own way through college and working -- I wanted to go full-time, and I signed up to make some money, to get out, I needed a break in school -- and to get some money. And I saved the money I made during my active duty period to put me through school. And at that point in time I think I was making sixty, seventy bucks a month extra in the National Guard, and I -- you know -- I did not come from a situation where my parents were putting me through school. I did not -- I put myself through. They paid for a couple of years what they could and I simply worked and put myself through school, and at that point in time, did anything I can to make a living to, to finish my school.
[Interviewer]: How long had -- you had only been in the National Guard about a year.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: About a year.
[Interviewer]: So this was the first time you had -- had you ever fired a gun? Had you ever been in a combat?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Oh yes. Yeah, we had fired, of course, at basic training, and at home in Pittsburgh where I was from, we had hunted and did all those type of things. Weapons were not unfamiliar to me or nothing to be intimidated by. I had fired -- in fact I did very well at firing -- I enjoyed that type of thing. I did very well in that type of situation.
At that point in time, we got around the library, we came around the other side, and the people literally ran -- they literally ran. Wherever the action was, they ran the other way. They literally ran away from the action. The guy that was stabbed in the hand and uh...
[Interviewer]: So it was a meeting and then a dispersing, a meeting, you know --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: The whole thing didn't take thirty seconds, I should say. I seems like a flash in time. I remember the -- again, I'm not going to name the real name of the individual that did the stabbing -- but I remember him going and putting his bayonet in the ground and pointing out a couple times to cleanse it, if any blood on it.
We then got on the other side of the library, we were formed up again, put back in the group. And the crowd pretty well dispersed by that time. Our group of maybe a hundred or so of us, was then marched over to what was the Tri-Tower area -- maybe not, I can't think of the name of the dorms over there -- marched across campus. It was relatively quiet on campus. It was like entering a different world by going over there. We got over, and we were just more or less standing over there by the Tri-Tower areas, and this woman came running out of the building totally berserk. Totally just yelling and screaming obscenities out of the dorms, which I think is Tri-Towers, I get -- I'm not --
[Interviewer]: The large -- there's the three large dorms. Yeah.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --And she came running out hysterically pointing and just -- I mean totally hysterical. And out of nowhere from right around the bushes came this student and he just laid a punch on her and laid her right out [laugh]. And two of her friends came out and drug her back into the building. It wasn't one of our guys, it was just a student. I think there was maybe a male dorm there or something. But she was pointing her finger at us and yelling, "Get off my campus!" and this and that, and just really totally hysterical. And this guy just came out of somewhere and just nailed her. I mean it wasn't [technical difficulty on tape -- indiscernible].
[Interviewer]: So was that Sunday evening, then? We're still talking about Sunday evening?This was after everyone had been dispersed -- no one had really gone -- things were at that point -- did you at that point continue patrolling campus, or were you going back?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: They came over in a truck, I believe, and picked us up, and took us back into the school.
[Interviewer]: Back to Walls.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yep. They dispersed several units to different places on campus. You have to realize that although in our best military manner we had tried to maintain continuity by staying, you know, in your own group. Just by nature of the campus, many times you were separated from your main group, and you ended up being -- I know several times we had men in our group from another company. We -- eight or ten of us -- would get involved with someone else and then we would find out very quickly where our units were. People would switch back and forth. So it wasn't like a situation where, you know, they just combined a lot of us on campus in numbers -- a show of force.
I can recall -- and again, you're looking at a group of men, early twenties -- at that dorm area, or wherever it was, of this one young lady yelling, "Hey, soldier-boy, look up here!" --
[Interviewer]: At the Tri-Towers?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: At the Tri-Towers, about the third floor up. And the room was dark and she had a light of some sort on her, and she was standing naked against the window saying, "Why don't you come up here and I can show you a good time! Take those uniforms off and get rid of those guns and we can show you a good time."
[Interviewer]: That's so strange. That's a story out of a war story, you realize.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. And --
[Interviewer]: You know, that's what women in --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --War-torn areas or something --
[Interviewer]: --When they invade, when the occupying troops say, "Come on up and--"
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah, "Hey sailor, lookin' for a good time?" type thing.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: But she said, "Drop those guns, get out of those uniforms, and come on up here, and we'll show you a good time!" And you can imagine the chatter that went on amongst the men, you know. [Laughs]. And the sergeant did his best to keep control. [Laughs].
[Interviewer]: Now the sergeant was a --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --National Guard.
[Interviewer]: He was just a National Guard, or was a career --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No, we had very few career people. Our entire unit, there were a couple career people. Maybe the captain and maybe the master sergeant may have been, and the supply sergeant may have been career. The rest of us were civilian. Again, these were more friends than soldiers to us. I mean, we would go out together -- go out and have a few drinks, we would go to dinner, we would play golf together. You form a lot of friendships, and I think we became much tighter after May in '70, if I recall. I'm trying to recall -- there's some details, but I think -- We went back to Walls school -- Monday morning -- it was quiet, actually. It was a gorgeous day, if I recall.
[Interviewer]: It was a beautiful day.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Windy, much like today.
[Interviewer]:I went back to Akron to teach school.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And we were called and said, "Well, we're gonna go up on campus." And they brought in phones. They brought in a bank of phones. We were bivwacked also down Walls, matter of fact, where we are now. Used to be the old football field. You recall? The old stadium?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: That's where we were bivwacked, and we came from Walls school to here, and we ate here then. And they had set up a bank of phones -- Ohio Bell had brought in several trailers with phones on them -- and we were told, if we wished, they'd let us go by platoon to call our families or whatever relatives to let them know we might be there a couple more days; that things were winding down, [very softly] and things were just fine.
[Interviewer]: So at that point you were assuming even though you were gonna be here that things were winding down.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah.
[Interviewer]: That's an important psychological point.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. There were rumors that they may close the school down even before then about, you know, the school may be shut down or -- "Hey guys, the weekend's over, the bars are shut down, the drinking's over," and you know, I mean the people -- a college student-type thing -- and it's back to classes. Because when we had come in on Saturday, there were no classes for two days and the kids were fired up. And that's what thought came to my mind, is, "I wish I could go to class." I had a class I wanted to go, I wanted to graduate, I needed to get out of there and move on with my life.
We then ate breakfast there -- field breakfast -- had some tents up, some chairs, and telephones, this type of thing. They called some of us to go and do some things, you know, some details. And then if I recall, it must have been around eleven o'clock -- ten-thirty or eleven o'clock -- they said the old, "Get it on!" which means get your gear on. We had our gear all lined up and our weapons laying down. We were walking around pretty much without our gear on, and the old "Get it on" came and we went over and got our weapons -- fell in -- got in formation, and we marched up out of the stadium and marched up to -- again -- to the ROTC area, and they said, "There's some -- kids are forming again," and we said, "Oh, not this shit again." You know, we'd been through this, we're tired, why don't these kids go to school where they belong? And a lot of us started thinking, "Why aren't they in class? "What's goin' on with these people?" You know, why aren't they there?
[Interviewer]: There were classes, right.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah, ya know, let's get on with our lives here, and let's get back -- the fun's over -- the night before, we had a couple days, and they burned a building and -- we really were under the impression, and everyone was, that now that school's starting, it's back to the college kid-type thing. It wasn't that way. We got down on campus -- hastily again -- brought back over to the campus where we were around the ROTC building --
[Interviewer]: And they formed around that area -- right.
[Ohio National Guardsman]:-- formed up in a line. There was a company from Ravenna, I believe, and our company, 'C' company. In fact there was a map I saw in the paper the other day that showed where 'C' company was. And the 'C' company was to go up around the other side of Taylor -- to the left, if you will -- Taylor Hall. But again, you have to realize the mish-mash we were in. We were lined up, sometimes double, and the group I was in, and some of my men, ended up going up to the right.
[Interviewer]: So someone mixed --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah.
[Interviewer]: There was not a clear-cut, "this division did that," you know.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Oh, they tried. They didn't do it by division as much as saying, " 'A' platoon or third platoon," it was "From here over, you go that way; from here over you follow that way."
[Interviewer]: So prior to going up there, there had been no discussion that there was going to be any kind -- it wasn't that you sat down and were told what the maneuvers were.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No.
[Interviewer]: You were there --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We were put in formation --
[Interviewer]: And then you were told on the spot.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Single line, and then we form a double line and that kind of stuff. At that point -- at the beginning -- you have to realize there was tear gas on campus. I was sent up to the right of the campus. I was coming up behind a main group, and there was tear gas in the air; it was windy. There wasn't much behind us. Most of the action was up. We had marched up on the hill once. Again, there was a group maybe a hundred yards in front of the small group I was in. At that point in time I didn't have my glasses on [laughs] -- had my gas mask on.
[Interviewer]: Now you all in your group were going up because you had been given orders that the gas was going.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. We masked up down below. At that point in time -- I didn't know who I was standing next to -- I don't know who any of my friends were, where they were -- name tags were gone or taped over --
[Interviewer]: Is that normal procedure? I'm not --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No. They were just picking out names. And they would say, "Smith! You're gonna get yours. We know you." This type of thing. No! It wasn't -- we were taping over them, these type of things.
[Interviewer]: That was something that had come from the experience of being here during those two days?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Cover your name up.
[Interviewer]: And that was -- because that's what I was confused about.That was not a normal way of dealing with it.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No.
[Interviewer]: So you were covering it, or taking it off?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Mostly covering it. The thing you have to realize also is that we had field jackets on -- some of us had field jackets on -- which was the heavy jacket -- not a long jacket. Short, car-coat length if you will. When you have your gear on, your backpack strap comes on over your name and covers it. You don't know who you're with. It was just mass confusion.
[Interviewer]: Now when you said -- I just wanted, 'cause I was concerned about that. It was curious for me -- This came out of people saying, people were actually coming up -- students or --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah.
[Interviewer]: -- demonstrators or whomever and saying, "Smith, I see your name. I'm gonna get you."
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah.
[Interviewer]: So that it was not an order from anyone else --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No!
[Interviewer]: It was within your own personal, as guard.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Right. We were never told not to do it.
[Interviewer]: You were never told not -- OK, that's important. Alright, I think that's important.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We came up behind a group. A group went down over what was the soccer field or some practice field. I remember the group over by the dorm, they were left at Taylor Hall, and then we retreated. We laid some gas at some dorm areas, there were some people down there. Again, it was very windy. Gas works best in a very humid atmosphere, where it lays. It's a very light, whispy gas. And it was being taken up as the wind went through the buildings, of course, causing whirlwinds and such; it was being sucked up by the atmosphere. So the gas wasn't really doing that good. We went from regular canisters -- they brought in some popping canisters, which are the kind you can't pick up, the gas jumps around. The kids were picking up gas earlier in the weekend and throwing it back at us -- picking it up with rags. It's simple, it looks like a pop can or a beer can, if you will. You pop the top off it, literally, and throw it. Then they brought in some that had holes that would come out several places -- it was hot then. It would blow out several places, you couldn't pick it up. It would pop around on you also, it would move around under pressure. That was brought in.
We came back down over the hill, like, retreat, advance, retreat, advance. And things for a moment there got quiet, and I figured, well they made enough advances, we got a show of force, the bayonets were out ... And I was going back down over the hill, standing down over the hill, and I heard pops. One pop, a couple pops, and [rapidly] poppoppoppoppop poppoppoppoppop. And I said, "What the hell?" I said to myself. And I'm sayin' to myself, "Should I shoot?" "Shouldn't I shoot?" I couldn't shoot, there was someone in front of me.
[Interviewer]: Were you to the back? --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I was back over the hill, but yet there was students all around us.
[Interviewer]: You had -- but as you explained to me earlier, you did not --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No, we were locked and loaded, I forgot, we locked and loaded.
[Interviewer]: Ok, you locked and loaded. You were given that order prior to --
[Ohio National Guardsman]:Yes. We had done that Sunday night, too. We had ammunition on Sunday night. We were loaded, some of us were loaded. But we had locked and loaded going up that hill.
[Interviewer]: Was that order given to you as you came into the area, or prior to coming in, or was it just an extension of Sunday night's order?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I don't recall. It was confusion. But I know that an M1, you slammed it back and you put the thing in and you had to be real careful your thumb doesn't get caught. I heard the slam of those bolts goin' forward, and the safe's on, and they came out, "Make sure your safe's on." Again, the M1 is a semi-automatic weapon. It's not an automatic weapon. You have to pull the trigger each time to fire eight rounds. Thirty-odd six rather large, high-velocity rounds. Steel jacketed. It's meant to wound. In military terms, steel jacketed -- the bullet is to go through you. A wounded soldier is better than a dead one. A wounded takes three or four people to carry him away, a dead one they leave. Not three behind it. This wasn't World War II.
I was down over the hill and I heard the shots going off, and I turned around, and it was a matter of a heartbeat, and the shooting was over. I didn't have my glasses on, I didn't see, but I saw men with the position with the rifles aiming, and some of the men I were with were starting to aim, but we didn't know when to shoot, what to shoot, or if we should shoot. Very quickly we got the order, "Cease fire! Cease fire! I don't recall, it may have been our major going around with a baton, a night stick if you will, hitting the rifles, "Cease fire!" Oh, he was angry, he was pushin' and shovin' -- "Cease"-- knockin' the rifles down, "Cease fire! Cease fire! Cease fire!" Very quickly our order came to cease fire. An officer came and pushed our rifles up in the air -- pushed mine up in the air. He said, "Stop! Halt! Don't move! Stay here! Don't move!" And he pushed our rifles up. Very quickly a line was drawn between those individuals that had fired and between the ones of us who were backup on the other side. We then very quickly were given the order to "About --" to form up in a formation -- "About face," not look at was going on. And we marched down -- which the road is no longer there, it's blocked now -- but where the one fella was shot that was laying -- there was a road that went down behind campus, if I recall, somehwere. We marched down through there.
[Interviewer]: In your loop.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. And we were a small group, thirty or forty. And we got down around, there was a group of students standing in the road, and I figured, "Boy, here it comes." And the sergeant said, "Keep moving. Keep marching. Do not, I say, do NOT again move your weapons!" And like the Red Sea, they parted. We went through and went back down to the bivwack area.
[Interviewer]: At that point in time, did you know that weapons had been discharged?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Um hum.
[Interviewer]: But none of you knew -- you were on the other side -- could not have seen any of the people shot.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We were a little bit lower -- we saw -- I saw them with the weapons shooting. Again, I didn't have my glasses on so I couldn't -- you could obviously tell they were shooting.
(Interviewer) But did you know, or did anyone say at that point that the bullets had had an effect, had been shot? Anyone, anyone was laying there?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No. We were moved out very quickly. The ambulance came, and the helicopters--
[Interviewer]: So you just knew that there had been a discharge of weapons and that you were moving away from the area. OK. I think that's important psychologically to know.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Quite truthfully, Sandy, had there not been our own soldiers in front of us, had we been a different group -- I can speak for myself, I would have fired. I would have assumed--
[Interviewer]: That you were given an order.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I would assume that when others were firing, they were firing for a reason. I would have fired.
[Interviewer]: Because you knew the sound of the weapons you heard were yours.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Oh, clearly.
[Interviewer]: Those were definitely M1s.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: They were thirty yards in front of me. And an M1 makes a terrific crack.
[Interviewer]: Yeah, I know.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: It's a high velocity weapon.
I would have. Were we faced a little bit right -- and again, several of us were lowering our weapons into the firing position, but our own men were in front of us -- we would have probably turned right and fired. I would have. I can't speak for anyone else in the Guard, but knowing that there was firing going on, I would have more than likely emptied my weapon.
[Interviewer]: At anything that was there?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: At anything that was there, because obviously the crowd was advancing. I remember we advanced, went back. I recall someone throwing -- landing beside me -- a, if you will, 2x2 -- there was some construction somewhere on campus going on, I'm not sure where, but there were reinforcement bars being thrown at that point -- which is a reinforcement bar you put in concrete -- landed beside me, was a 2x2 piece of wood, about two feet long, perhaps, with nails driven through it. If you will, about ten nails. That was not something you find laying around, that was made on purpose. Had it hit someone, it would have certainly caused a puncture wound, of sorts. And it just fell down beside -- between several of us, and I sorta stepped over it. And there were all kind of missiles coming out of the air and things. And I remember after the shooting, it got totally quiet. It just -- I heard air hissing out of a tire -- that sound -- bsssshhhoouu -- the air hissing. It just got quiet. And then there were some screams. And then we again marched off, down to the side.
To get back to why I say -- and geez, I hate to say it this way -- but had we had M16s, which we got shortly thereafter -- the M16 is a tumbling bullet -- it's meant to kill you. It could enter your hand and come out the side of your head. It follows bone tracks. It's an automatic weapon, it holds twenty rounds. And I just thought later on, "My God, if we'd have had M16s -- if those men up there had M16s -- they would have sprayed that area, and uh ... If you recall the bullet hole on the monument, that's the force of an M1. An M16 wouldn't have gone through there. It'd of bounced off. But that's the force of an M1 bullet. An M16 would have wreaked havoc. It's a weapon that is made to destruct like no weapon we've ever seen -- no rifle we've ever seen. It tumbles as it goes through the air.
[Interviewer]: And that's what the Guard carries now?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: Well, that's important for us to remember. [laughs] It certainly is.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I see a lot of Guardsmen around -- Saturdays, weekends -- we used to always carry our weapons with us. Now I see Guardsmen in trucks or at a McDonald's or wherever, you know, men in a group -- never see them with weapons -- not even shoulder weapons. I mean, not even shoulder holsters or pistols. They don't carry weapons on training.
[Interviewer]: Do you think that is a direct result in some way of --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I think a lot of things have changed.
[Interviewer]: --two things? Number one, they're carrying a much more, you know, they're carrying a weapon?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Oh, I don't know, I think it --
[Interviewer]: Or is it the mood?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: The mood, and you know, you put a weapon in someone's hand, it'd better be for a reason. It was common practice when we would go on -- out to LaDue Reservoir or somewhere -- we took our M1 with us. Ya slept with it, ya had it with ya, ya had it in maneuvers, and ya took your M16 with blank adaptors on it, it was typical. That's what ya did. I don't see that now. Again, maybe for a lot of reasons -- safety, liability, whatever.
I do recall if the shots went off, ya know, things go through your mind. Again, hindsight is worth a million dollars. But I would probably have fired. Without a doubt. Where, I don't know, and had the men not been in front of me, I would have probably loaded my weapon again without my glasses on. No doubt in my mind I would have emptied my rifle.
[Interviewer]: Though there was no oral --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Never heard an order.
[Interviewer]: --it would have been a spontaneous order from what you had heard on the other side.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: What I recall, the shots, it was a 'bang bang bang bang bang bang bang.' Now, sure, we heard all kinda rumors in the Guard that someone had come around the corner -- a student come around the corner -- with a pistol -- the fella that shot dropped him and someone ran up, picked up the pistol and ran with it.
[Interviewer]: Well, that was the classic, the gun that was never found in the Cuyahoga river. Never knew if it existed or not. [indescernible] know.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And someone shot at him, and that's what started -- because someone thought their life -- I don't, in all personal belief, knowing the individuals in National Guard as I know them -- Major Jones, who was there, and some of the other captains -- I don't believe they would have ever given the order to fire. I don't think they would have ever --
[Interviewer]: From what you are saying, though, and it makes it very interesting -- if one person shot for whatever reason, someone else may have responded, as you said -- so it's as if "one, two, and then suddenly--
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --The barrage.
[Interviewer]: --the barrage.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: Which makes a great deal of sense. It doesn't necessarily--
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --Make it right or wrong.
[Interviewer]: Well, and of course, it doesn't necessarily -- it makes sense when you describe it -- and that's what I think is important. That we understand what was in your minds. Now also, the fact that you still had your gas masks on, right?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: Now, some of the Guard did not have gas masks.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Some didn't. Again, it was a mish mash of where you were, who you were with, where you were broken up to, put your mask on, take them off, shoulder your weapon, port arms your weapon. It was again -- I guess what I get out of the whole Kent State experience is that I -- it seems that everyone wants to simplify it and point the blame to a person or a incident.
[Interviewer]: Well, that's so much our desire, because it's like the shooting of anyone --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah.
[Interviewer]: --Kennedy, or -- one would like it to have a fortune cookie, split it open, and "the answer is ... thank you." You know.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: In my mind, that's not it. There was such a combination of events that you could look at both sides ... The coming together, I think -- at that point in time there was a mindset in our country that some people were questioning the Viet Nam war, they were questioning the war. It was a spring day, it was the heat, it was soldiers on campus, it was a lot of frustration from the National Guard part. I was tired, a lot of men were tired. We wanted to go back home. We had other -- we wanted to get on with our lives. It had been a week almost now, for some men it was a week. We wanted to get on with our lives. It was a group that was striking out against people in the military because this group had green on and had weapons and it was the same group in Viet Nam. It was an unprepared National Guard, untrained for riot duty. It was a group of students that were being very --
[Interviewer]: I think that's a very good point, because having come from Madison, Wisconsin, which is where we were, the National Guard which was very active in Madison because Madison was a far more violent campus -- my husband had been studying there -- seemed very more prepared over the period of perhaps the year
[Ohio National Guardsman]: We did after that. I must admit we went into some intensive, intensive training, which we went to another truck strike, by the way, in '73 or '74 --
[Interviewer]: I remember. They were firing -- yes, they were much more violent, too.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And we were a much better trained group for the activity that we had.
[Interviewer]: So that's a very important point -- that up until that point, being trained, you are a quote "riot patrol," but you had never been actually trained in the way of what, you know, just like they were fighting a guerilla war in Viet Nam that no one ever fought --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --They never fought it.
[Interviewer]: --rioting in the streets or on campus, this was certainly not something that was historically true.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And we were, I think, at best militarily prepared. We were always on duty in infantry to go to Viet Nam as an aggressor, but at home, I think it was a more defense -- stand on the street and block people from breaking windows. Whether it be Akron, Pittsburgh, I don't care where, that's what's the National Guard. Where there's a flood or a tornado came through town, you stood there and you protected it. Someone come up and saw a group of men standing there with weapons, said, "Hey, thanks, I'm outta here."
The dynamics, I think, were such that there were a lot of frustrations going on. As I look back at it, I was 23 perhaps then -- 22 or 23 -- full life. That weekend will always stick out in my life -- is that I was a college student -- college is supposed to be fun -- I was getting married that summer, I was engaged. I was in National Guard. I was finishing up my school. Everything was getting put together for me. I had a job on the line. Life was a ball. And I came here and saw what quote "they" -- whoever "they" were -- were doing to my campus, and I didn't like that. I wanted a campus where I could sit down and have a Pepsi at the Hub, or walk across campus and talk to some of my buddies, or chit chat with someone, or, you know, do those type of things. And I got onto a campus that turned into guerilla warfare, and I didn't like people that were doing those type of things. We had people that worked in rubber factories that didn't have college educations that were maybe a little angry, that were, "Hey, what the hell. This is my tax dollars, why don't these kids go to school or go to work?" One of the two. There's no one to blame. There's no incident to blame. In my mind, I think was the dynamics of a lot of things happening at one time.
I truly, truly feel sorry for a lot of people. And I wanna say that I feel equally sorry for the families of those students that were shot, and equally sorry for the Guardsmen that shot them.
[Interviewer]: Because they know who shot.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Those men weren't put on here to kill people. They weren't brought here to wound and maim, to take life away. They joined the Guard to get out of Viet Nam. To be able to maintain their life while they were still in the military and [indescernible] obligation. They signed contracts for six years. There were people from Ravenna who worked as farmers or who worked in the factories or taught school, or whatever they had to do. And they were from all walks of life. No one came on here and said, "Let's go kill some of those damn college students." If anything, we had to keep the rednecks, some of the townspeople from doing that. And I talked to a lot of these guys, and we still talk, and there was no -- oh, what do I want to say, I can't think of the word now -- clandestine or plot, if you will, to "Let's get those damn college kids." I think many of those men are as torn up of what happened as the families of those who were killed.
[Interviewer]: Why do you believe that there are so many -- you know, [indescernible] that there would only be one, that there would never be people speaking, there would only be -- that they would never speak out as either a group or as individuals.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Well, you gotta realize that at this point in time, we were still -- after this occurred -- interviewed by FBI, there was a lot of [indescernible]. We were simply told -- brought together in a group -- and said that this is under investigation, you are not to speak. It was that simple. You have to realize, being in the military at that point in time, if you were in National Guard, Viet Nam was still going on -- in those days -- I don't know how it is now -- had you missed so many drills, if you had five what we called 'unsats' -- if you had five unsats -- five unsatisfactories -- you were then eligible to go, you were then sent to active duty. OK? If your hair was long -- I was never one to have long hair, that wasn't my problem -- but if you were out of uniform, you were late for a drill; you got an unsatisfactory. You could get four unsatisfactories a weekend, because a drill was split into four different things. If you got an Article 15, which was some sort of indictment, if you will, or a fine, you could get up to three or four unsats. At that point in time, you didn't want to get that golden fifth one 'cause you were outta here, then you were in active duty. And we had people that were taking that duty, it was that simple. And in most cases since they were already trained and received -- we went down -- I went to Fort Polk, Louisiana and received jungle training to come back to the streets of Akron --because that's the way the war was going. It was an infantry center in 1969. Went to a place called Peason Ridge, and we were trained in jungle warfare, and I came back to Akron, Ohio. All the men that were in infantry at that point in time were trained at Peason Ridge and were trained in jungle warfare, and it was on our record. We were prime candidates that if we were sent unsat, they didn't have to send us down for another eight, ten, twelve weeks of training. It was on a plane and you were over there. And don't think that -- you weren't threatened with that -- but you knew that was the sword.
[Interviewer]: That is part of the system that you were [indescernible].
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Good or bad. And I wanna say this -- that when I went into the National Guard, I signed -- and maybe I'm a little old fashioned -- I signed a contract for six years, and I honored that contract. And part of that contract was, I was told up front, that I was gonna be a soldier, and I was gonna be in the military, and I was gonna do what I was supposed -- what I was told to do. And I honored that contract. The Guard was good to me. I had a good record, I never recieved any Article 15s. I progressed through quickly. I became a staff sergeant, one of the youngest staff sergeants there -- with three and half years there, I became a staff sergeant. I was not a gung ho type person, but I did, I just -- my sense of service. I did what we were told. I had a contract, I told them I would do it, and I did it.
We still meet on a regular basis, many of us. We go to golf outings, we get together socially. It was a different part of my life.
[Interviewer]: And you are now part of a university experience.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. And I feel sorry -- and I really mean this -- it was easy to be angered then when you saw the Jeffrey Millers standing there giving you the finger, using four-letter words and shouting out at you -- to say he got what he deserved. I don't know if those people -- whatever you read -- that the Scheuer's and the other people and the Miller's were aware they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be doing when they were shot. Bullets are indiscriminate. I don't think anyone had a bullet marked with their name on it, so to speak. Perhaps if the firing started, someone said, "I know that guy or I know that person gave me a hard time, and I'm gonna lay one on them." Um. I wanna tell you something, when you shoot with a gas mask on, you're not that good of a shot. You can't aim that well. The M1 has a viscious kick to it. And I think to sit there and point your weapon at a group or at a person, given a gas mask, given the situation, to try to hit a person would be difficult. And I'm a good shot.
[Interviewer]: But once the campus became -- what you're saying is -- any of that and all that could and did happen because of the circumstances that were set in play when the Guard became part of the -- [tape cut off]
[Interviewer]: --and I think that's a very important point. Maybe that's the only point that we can learn from it.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: If I can give you an aside, some personal notes. It quickly, of course, hit the news. And it first hit the news back in my family in Pittsburgh. There were special broadcasts -- break-in on television news -- that there was gunfire. My mother knew I was on campus and my father knew I was in National Guard. They were home, they knew I was working. My mother was at home, knew that we were [indescernible]. I tried to get through -- we were very limited in our phone calls. I got through to them once, said not to worry, this type of thing. The message came across in Pittsburgh that three National Guardsmen were shot and killed, and one of them was from Pittsburgh.
[Interviewer]: I remember. They came into my schoolroom and told me the same story.
[Ohio National Guardsman]:My mother went bananas. Couldn't get through 'cause they shut the phone lines down. Literally, they loaded in the car, and they were coming out here. I was able to get on to a phone, you could call out, you couldn't call in, and I got a hold of Pittsburgh and said, "I'm fine, I'm alive. I can't talk," and hung up.
We then patrolled the streets several days after. And then Tuesday or Wednesday -- or Wednesday or Thursday, I should say, we were -- if I recall, the next day was an election day or something.
[Interviewer]: Yes. Governor Rhodes was running for election, yes.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And we patrolled the campus. And I remember going back to my apartment -- I lived in College Towers at the time -- and taking my two buddies with me. We went up to the room in full battle gear up to my apartment, and you know, showered -- a real shower -- and my roommates were there. And I remember walking in on my roommate, and he had a young lady sitting there on the couch with him. We walked in en mass [indescernible] and weapons, and she didn't know what to do. We laid the weapons down, and had the guys use our showers. We had a two bedroom, two bath apartment, and showered and had a meal, and left. My roommate [indescernible] was a young police officer on campus at the time, and they were both veterans. One was in Viet Nam and came back, and the other was a police officer.
They immediately closed down class, and I can remember patrolling campus then -- we did a lot of things. We were in jeeps and we did foot patrol. I did a lot of jeep patrol, and I remember walking through campus -- in fact that's where I walked over from where my meeting was today -- I walked over. It was so strange to be on this campus and see no one -- eerie, quiet.
[Interviewer]: Um hum. Ghost.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I mean, no one was on campus. If I recall, the first week professors, everyone had to leave.
[Interviewer]: Yep. Couldn't even come back and get anything from your classes.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I recall -- [tape cut off].
[Interviewer]: Continuing part two of my interview.
[Interviewer]: I think it's extremely important because so many of us know the stories of harassment or people riding through town and laughing or pointing at people with long hair and glasses or whatever that may have been considered quote, "hippies" at that time -- that you also experienced -- what happened to you after being a member of the guard. What is your story of that?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I recall taking a class, and again, trying to get through school, trying to get done so I could graduate. And I had missed the mid-term in several of my classes because we were called out to the truck strike the week before -- mid-term, if you will, or whatever exam. We were on a quarter system, if I recall, the quarters end the end of May or early June, or whatever. And I had missed several exams. And I recall going to Twin Lakes at a professor's home, and having a class there.
[Interviewer]: This was in the fall now, or summer 1970?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: The spring semester. --Ah, to finish up, that type of thing. It was sort of open. They went to a pass/fail grading system, if I recall, and some different type of academics. I recall meeting in this man's basement for class, with a group of us [indescernible] discussion.
[Interviewer]: This is then '70--?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: This is right after Kent State when the campus was closed.
[Interviewer]: This is the finishing up, the different types of meeting in professors' homes. Trying to finish up the grades, whatever. And no one was allowed on campus.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No one was allowed on campus. And then they were posting, if I recall, off campus, different places where you could call or get a hold of people, your professors, this type of thing. And I recall going to my one professor -- and I wanna say Psych or Soc, I'm not sure -- and they had certain times when you could call and make appointments to do these type of things. And I came in to see him, and I said, "I've missed a test." And he said, "Well, why did you miss the test?" And I said, "Well, I was in the National Guard. I was on active duty." And he said, "Were you on this campus, too?" And I said, "Yeah." And he said, "You will never pass my course. You will never graduate from this university if I have anything to do with it. You can't finish this course. You have failed this course. And as far as I'm concerned, you shouldn't be permitted back on this campus." And he asked me to leave his office.
[Interviewer]: What did you do?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I left his office. I --
[Interviewer]: Did you fail the course?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I went to see the Dean. I had a friend --
[Interviewer]: Was this in Arts and Sciences?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --Arts and Sciences.
[Interviewer]: Is that Rudy Buttlar? No.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I can't -- the fella has since passed away.
[Interviewer]: Yeah, he died. I know who it was. B -- it's a 'B.' Yes.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Brennan. He lived in Hudson. Beardon. Very nice gentleman.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And I had worked at the time at Don Joseph Chrysler-Plymouth. He had worked on this fella's car -- Breedon! -- I believe his name was.
[Interviewer]: Breedon. Right.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Very nice gentleman. He said, "Why don't you go see this guy." I went in, introduced myself. He said, "What can I do for ya?" And at that point in time I was shocked, because here I am, I got this punch in the mouth, so to speak, from what I thought -- what I thought was interesting, mainly as far as teaching and professor -- and I went to see this associate dean or whatever it was, and I said, "We got problems here," and I explained the problems, and he said -- I remember him telling me I would have to take the fail for that course because the man was still on campus. The person was done, that was his last semester on campus, and if I would come back in the summer and see him, he could so something in the fall. I went back to see him in the fall, I remember him removing the fail grade, putting in a pass grade, and he made it possible for me to graduate for another course I had also. Again, some professors were very -- and there was another one -- I think I had an English course -- and she simply said, "Write a paper for me about your experience." And I recall writing the paper late in November, typing it so I could graduate in December, and I took it in to see her, and I said, "Here it is." And she opened it up, saw my name on it, and, and -- I believe we had options in pass/fail for grades, and I thought at that point in time the best option for all my courses were pass because I had missed several exams in some of the courses, and now we're talking about six months ago, so I had opted for a lot of pass/fail type of things. She opened the paper -- it was probably fifty, sixty pages -- opened the paper, saw my name on it, said, "Fine. You passed." Never looked at the paper, handed it back to me.
[Interviewer]: She never read it.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Never read it.
[Interviewer]: Did you keep the paper?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I may have. I just recall all the nights I spent typing it and having my wife typing it, and trying to really do my best to put down -- I'm not the best writer -- but trying to put my thoughts down to what happened. And to have someone open it up, and see my name, put a "pass" on it, sign the paper --
[Interviewer]: Hand it back ...
[Ohio National Guardsman]: --And say "Passed." Handed it back, "Thank you." -- very curt.
[Interviewer]: When you say "curt," would it have mattered if you had been a student just on campus, or it was because you were a Guard, or what was the -- ?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I don't know, other than she said -- she knew I was a National Guardsman on the campus.
[Interviewer]: Oh, so she knew that. So your feeling was that she was giving you the benefit of the doubt; that she in fact didn't even want to read it, perhaps.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No. I don't know.
[Interviewer]: You didn't know -- did not want the dialogue, obviously.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: That was a neutral. We had the fella that told me I'd never pass his course; he would see to it that I never graduate this campus, to the [indescernible] associate dean that saw I graduated and corrected the grades, and apologized for this man and said -- you have to understand that feelings were happening -- and I did, but I also felt, "Why me?" You know? I've been very quiet over the years, I'm not an outspoken type of person, and I just felt that, you know -- I was in James Michener's book. I'd like to relate just for a moment Mr. Michener. I was called by a fella named Bill Nash, who was a vice president then of Huntington Bank -- National, it was national at that time -- and asked if I'd be willing to talk -- I was getting a little gun-shy then -- if I wanted to talk to James Michener. I said," The James Michener?" And he said, "Yeah." And that's what swung me, because I'd had a bad experience that summer where a group from the BBC came in on an interview and brought in some of the people who were on campus, and really, literally tried some type of physical confrontation.
[Interviewer]: Between you and the students?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes. And they brought the student in, literally out of his chair, if you will -- we were real close, and taunted me, and said, "Why don't you do something now that we're alone?" And I walked out. I'm 6' 4" -- and a half. At that point in time I was about 210 [pounds], worked out a little bit, and I simply stood up to leave the room, and he leaned back and said, "God, don't hit me, please!" So, real quickly he changed his mind. And I wasn't going to, but I got up and walked out of the room. And I recall a BBC man following me out of the hotel, telling me I signed a contract and I would never get a check from them. And I said, "That's the least of my worries, is this check or this contract." I said, "So sue me." Ya know? I said, "I was told I would have an interview with one person in the room. You brought in two people; you confronted me," I said, "and I have a copy of that contract." And I got a check from them -- again, a small amount -- $100, in fact. To me, I was doing anything I could to get money to go through school. I must admit that Mr. Michener was 100% up front. I reviewed both on tape -- we taped it -- and in writing -- everything before it went to print. He allowed me to read, and if I wanted to edit it, whatever. And I recall meeting with a man -- his last name was Smith, common, like John Smith or James Smith -- from Reader's Digest who did a condensed version. We met several places -- not clandestine, he was staying at the University Inn downtown --
[Interviewer]: How did these people know specifically about you?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Through Bill Nash. Bill Nash. I knew Bill. Through my association of where I worked in town.
[Interviewer]: So he was someone that would have been able --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: -- Introduced us.
[Interviewer]: Right. Bill was a very well-thought-of person in the town, and very active in the town.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I met with Mr. Michener over a the Kentwood Motor Inn, and with the Smith fella at the University Inn. We had dinner. I recall very fondly, he sent my wife -- it was after we had been married, this was in the fall of '70, I believe. We were talking with Mr. Michener, and I had spent a lot of time away from home, and Mr. Michener very kindly sent my wife some roses with a little card saying, "Thank you for letting your husband be away from home in the evenings." We got one or several Christmas cards from him. I've not seen him since. In fact, he spoke when I graduated, he spoke at the graduation.
So a lot of feelings, a lot of experiences. And I must -- again, you know, I -- the name in the book is Carl Caldwell, if you read the book. It's called Day of the Guardsman -- who had kept my name in there until we ready to go to print. Mr. Michener called me and had me down, "Let's change this if you wish to be anonymous." There were a lot of things happening then. You have to realize that friends of mine were receiving phone calls -- they were receiving threatening phone calls. Especially when the news got in the paper. People were having their houses --
[Interviewer]: This was during the trial, of course, which was beginning; which [indiscernible].
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And that summer, as things started coming out in the summer and the fall in the papers, in the media -- I must say this. I was very disappointed in the Beacon Journal's coverage of the article. What I saw when I was there, and what I heard the men tell that reporter, and what came out in the paper -- in fact I cancelled the paper for a while. I said, "This is not the way life is supposed to be." I always thought a paper didn't take sides, but a paper reported. But it was obviously -- and, of course everyone can say, well, my perception of it, because I was in the Guard -- but I know what I saw, I know what they saw. I know what I heard, and I know what was printed in the paper.
[Interviewer]: What specifically?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: As to asking a friend why were you on campus type of thing. "Why, we were here to protect." And taking it and editing it to the point that it looked like we were there to cause trouble, and to kill and maim. Rape, loot, and plunder.
[Interviewer]: I think we have all had our experiences with the press.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes. And I'm not -- I've had other opportunities to -- when the 10th anniversary came around in 1980 -- to do some things, and I didn't. But I am Carl Caldwell in the book, they changed my name. I've read the book once or twice. I believe it's at home now -- my parent's home. They both passed away, but I think it's at our home, our family home. It was a different experience.
[Interviewer]: You work on a college campus now.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: And you work with students?
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I teach, also.
[Interviewer]: And you teach. Just as a point of personal reference, if a student -- something -- today happened where there was again a rift between the government and its children, would you explain to them that the college campus -- if the Guard is called to a college campus, which I don't if that would or would not happen --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I see that being a very difficult thing to happen again.
[Interviewer]: -- that the Guard is something to be taken quite seriously.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes. In my professional --
[Interviewer]: I'm not asking about the idea of dissent or not dissent --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No.
[Interviewer]: But the fact that, I think -- and the reason I'm saying this, and it's something I just heard the other day where I heard the African American reaction to May 4th -- and the reason that there were very few Blacks was that they all knew the National Guard carried live ammunition, because Blacks had been shot for years in the South. And they said Whites, only Whites, would have been naive enough to have thought there was nothing in there!
[Ohio National Guardsman]: See, I come from -- again, the background of somebody who has a gun. I don't ask. I assume it's loaded or you wouldn't have it. Given today's world with the drugs and all that -- but let's go back twenty years ago, or thirty years ago. I hunted. I shot skeet. Ya had a gun, you had it for a reason. It was loaded. Our guns were loaded on campus quite a bit. Our guns were loaded at the truck strikes. You know, you see the little pictures that are real nice, of the young lady putting the flower in the barrel -- to me that is such a paradox of -- lucky she got the right guy.
[Interviewer]: Right. Well, it's you know, I think you're -- I'm very, very pleased that you came and talked because I think that what my feeling is -- anyone who listens to this will understand something that they need to hear objectively. And I think we've in the last hour or so, really been able to just talk about things as they were without value judgments. Just, you know, that's the truth.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Again, going back 20 or 25 years ago, I looked at college -- I'm not gonna play the poor guy out of working parents -- but I looked at it as a privilege, not as a right; that going to school was really a privilege for me because I got to attend, and I had the grades, and I worked hard, and I didn't want anyone to take that away from me and shut my campus down. That was something else that was in my own mind, "What was happening here to a group?" I don't know, you ask me what I would say. In my profession, I'm a mediator. I do labor relations those type of things.
[Interviewer]: That's very good.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: And I would try to do that. I would certainly tell someone, I don't care who it is with a gun, "Leave." We know what the gun will do. We don't know what the person carrying it will do. I've been confronted in Kent with a gun -- I was held up by two individuals in the wintertime. They came around, put a gun in my face and said, "Never mind, just run." And I did. I did a real good job of running. 'Cause obviously the police or something were coming. I read it in the paper the next day -- and I went to the police station and reported it -- that they had been active in several other holdups. They robbed a convenience store, this type of thing -- same two guys, the way I had described them. And I was scared, you know. I've had threats of guns in my professional life. I fire people. Unfortunately, I have to discipline and fire people. And I've had threats of, "I know where you live, and I'll shoot you." I've gone to organizing drives where people have called my home and threatened my wife. I take those things seriously. I mean, I don't stop what I'm doing. When I was firing a person, and this lady said, "You know, I could have a gun in my purse," she was known for carrying a weapon, "and I could kill you." And I had to muster what courage I could, and say to her, "And you'd still be fired. Except you'd have another problem, you'd be in jail because you shoot me, that will put someone else in this chair." I was scared. But again, in my professional life, you have to realize that mediation and coming to an agreement is something I'm trying to do. I don't know.
[Interviewer]: Good metaphor. That's a good metaphor for your life. Find another way to do it without --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. There's gotta be a better way. Let's get creative here. I could be dead wrong, but I don't see any National Guard in the state of Ohio going into a campus again. Unless there's a tornado or something, purely a protectionary type of thing. Sandy, I don't know what else to tell you other than I'm pleased I'm able to do this.
[Interviewer]: Well, I hope I've made it easy for you.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yes, you have. But I'm not here to claim any type of notoriety. I'm not here to get any type of commission. I'm not here to plea bargain for anyone. I'm here to say that I'm sorry it happend. I think we're all sorry it happened.
[Interviewer]: And you still live in Kent.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. The town has been good to us.
[Interviewer]: It's not a bad place to raise a family.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: No. I love the town. We're very glad to do a lot of things, my wife and I. My wife was a student on campus, too. She graduated at that point in time. She was teaching. But the campus has been good to us. The town has been good to us, and maybe this is my way of repaying. I'm not in it for any personal glory. I'm not in it for -- I've had opportunities to do that -- for personal glory. I could have very well kept my name in twenty years ago in the Carl Cladwell book. I don't go out flaunting the book, and saying to people, "Hey, this is me." Becaues people will look at you and say, "Sure, yeah." But it is me, and I know it's me, and I don't really care if anyone really believes that I'm Carl Caldwell or not. I know it is, my family and my wife know it is. Mr. Michener knows it is. The people from Reader's Digest know it is. I'm just pleased that I could do this.
I had some anticipation. I guess when I came here that someone was gonna get a hold of this tape, and still may get my name and may still wish to do something. What are ya gonna do?
[Interviewer]: Well, I think that what we can do, which is a very good point. And I think the point is well taken, that in the same way -- I had someone call the other day who said to my husband, who is gonna be speaking at the dedication, "Are there going to be spies on campus?" And Henry said, "Well, I don't know what you mean." And he said, "Well, you know." Twenty years later some people are still paranoid that the government is after them. So you see, exactly what you said today -- some people have not lost -- some of us are still trying to find out how to mediate and creatively dissent, and go on and be involved. But I think your point is very well taken. You have a perfect reason, I think a well founded reason to have that fear. Just as -- I don't if this boy has one -- but, you know, some things don't die.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. I have concerns. Personal safety, I guess.
[Interviewer]: I think what would be a very good thing to do, and I'm going to place this --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Maybe leave it anonymous.
[Interviewer]: Well, I think a good thing for this particular tape would be is that we will allow Nancy to use her discretion in using it in the archives -- since your name is not until the end of this -- we can use that. And I think that's a good point, and I think at least for a while, restrict it to scholarly people -- that she will contact you if someone wants to --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: That would be fine. I would prefer it that way.
[Interviewer]: I think that's good. I think that's a good way to do it.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. You never know. That's the thing.
[Interviewer]: Absolutely. You never know.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Given today's society. But, I do thank you for the opportunity. I thank the university.
[Interviewer]: Hopefully as you say, "Hopefully we've learned something." God, it should never be just a useless exercise of force or protest. What a useless thing that is.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Yeah. They always use the phrase, 'you pay your quota, you take your chance.' And I think from both sides, unfortunately, you know. I wish everyone could -- I know the parents and those people in wheel chairs today and who are wounded are saying, "I wish you could have seen our minds and have been standing in front of those weapons when the puff of smoke came and the M1s came whizzing by." I would say to them, "I wish you could put yourself in the mindset of the man pulling the trigger." For whatever reason, enough's enough. "God, someone else is shooting. Did I miss an order? I'm gonna do this. I've lost control. I've gained control. I have total control." To put yourself in a mindset of the four or five days that led up to that. On both sides.
[Interviewer]: Of course, if the campus had been closed -- that is the other option -- if the campus had been closed down --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I wish it would have been closed down.
[Interviewer]: --that would have been the obvious because then you would have only been dealing with people in a civil situation within the town. And that would have been a very different situation.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Many of us, again, reflect back on -- we should have come in Friday night. This campus should have been closed Friday. We should have acted as a deterrent force, put blockades up to keep people out. Clear the town out -- "Why are you coming into town?" I would have much rather received negative vibes or the negative rap as far as, "Hey, you're keeping me out of town." -- "Yeah, I am." -- than what occurred on this campus.
[Interviewer]: Prevention. An ounce of --
[Ohio National Guardsman]: I would have much rather had someone giving me the finger in a car saying, "Yeah. I can't go into town and have a drink at the bars," than what has occurred.
Have you ever met any of the people -- any of the townspeople? Did they come forth?
[Interviewer]: No. I hope eventually we will be able to. Yeah.
[Ohio National Guardsman]: Thank you.
[Interviewer]: OK. Great.