The Army on Friday remembered two black civilians whose deaths led to a broad look at racism in the ranks, and disclosed new details of the military’s vigilance against extremism.
Even tattoos are now screened for possible racist or extremist meanings, and several soldiers already have been discharged because of tattoos they wouldn’t remove, said Lt. Gen. John Keane, 18th Airborne Corps commander.
“Just as cancer affects good people, extremism crept into the ranks of America’s great army,” Keane said at a memorial service for Jackie Burden, 37, and Michael James, 36.
Two 82nd Airborne Division soldiers were charged with murder and a third with conspiracy in the Dec. 7, 1995, deaths. The three have been discharged and await trial.
About 300 people attended the anniversary service, including Burden’s aunt, Carveline McLean, who said Army efforts had eased racial tensions “a little bit.”