Port Chicago – 154

Written by: Don McGill; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

JAG officer Sturgis Turner (T) defended retired Chief Aubrey McBride who was charged, along with 49 others, with mutiny when they refused to go back to loading ammunition during WWII after 320 men were killed in an explosion at Port Chicago. The chief, a black man pensioned after 30 yrs of service, said he “owed his buddy Randall Winston who had just died; so, he demanded “his day in court.” He said that it had been a racial issue. Chegwidden (C) assigned Singer (S) to prosecute; but, when she became hatefully vindictive he assigned Mac (M) to 2nd chair in order to “tone her down.” M said that she’d “rather have the electric chair.”

When the SECNAV was convinced that a trial would look bad on him, he then offered the chief a deal. The chief turned down the offer of: an apology to all the men; admission that racial prejudice had influenced assignments and conditions had been hazardous and discriminatory; a presidential pardon for 50; and a congressional exoneration. So, S widened the charges. Harm advised T, who was defending Aubrey, to make S deal with the racial conditions. He got his father, Chaplain Turner, to testify. The “secret meeting” that was observed being held by the black men in the brig, was actually to get the men to OBEY their orders. The men had asked for safety changes but they only recieved GLOVES! The Chief was found not guilty on all counts.

Harm tried to fix Harriet’s (Ht) refrigerator, then she begged him to help her buy a house. He agreed on the condition that she told Bud (B) she was accepting her fathers money for the house. She lied to H and didn’t tell B. Bud was also not telling Ht about Coates (Co) being his legal man.

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