Kent State, May 4, 1970,

 

ORDER TO "FIRE"?

 

Ohio National Guard commanders &

 

Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes &

 

President Richard Nixon

 

 

MAY 4, 1970: ORDER TO FIRE?

GENERAL ROBERT CANTERBURY

 

"These students are going to have to find out what law and order is all about."
--Brigadier General Robert Canterbury, Ohio National Guard, Kent State University Commons, at noon, May 4, 1970.

 

 

“Don’t worry, you did what you felt you had to do.”
--General Robert Canterbury, Ohio National Guard, statement to shooters minutes after massacre, May 4, 1970.

 

 

“It isn’t a common practice for a general to go out in a field in a civil disturbance such as he [General Canterbury] did at Kent on May 4…Usually the general officers remain in the CP [command post] for numerous reasons. This is the seventh disorder I had participated in and that was the only time that I had personally seen a general officer in the field with the troops.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

Question: “Do you recall whether General Canterbury was in communication with any other persons immediately prior to your marching out…?”
Answer: “Yes, there was something about a telephone call from Columbus. He had to talk to someone in Columbus about what was going on.”
Question: “Do you know who that person was who he had to talk to?”
Answer: “...I believe it was General Del Corso.”
--Ohio National Guard Captain James Ronald Snyder, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“Q) General, can you tell us whether or not you have as yet learned if anyone did give the order to fire, and if so, who, and weren’t you there?
A) I was there. There was no order to fire.
Q) Were they ordered to fire in the air before shooting to kill?
A) They were not ordered to fire at all.
Q) You were in charge, sir, of the troops?
A) I am not a direct troop commander, gentlemen. However, I was there.
Q) Are these troops committed to fire on their own if they feel they are in danger?
A) …Under normal conditions a order to fire is given. However, under these conditions…each man made a judgment on his own that his own life was in danger.”
--Brigadier General Robert Canterbury, news conference, Kent, Ohio, May 5, 1970.

 

 

“I didn’t give a command to the troops, it wasn’t my function. I dealt with the commanders. I instructed the commanders to line the troops up and get an ammunition count and determine who had fired. It did happen. I was there. It was done right then and there. They were in a single file line…To my knowledge there never was an order to discharge weapons.”
--Brigadier General Robert Canterbury, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

"Q) Did I accurately understand when you said that you could envisage no commander giving an order to fire into a crowd?
A) That is right.
Q) ...And you are suggesting that the commander under these circumstances did not assess it as requiring fire?
A) No. I won't say that."
--Brigadier General Robert Canterbury, Ohio National Guard, Presidential Commission on Campus Unrest testimony, 1970.

 

 

"The man in the plain clothes [General Canterbury]...appeared to be trying to keep them organized, directing their movement [at the hilltop]..."
--campus eyewitness quoted by Commission on KSU Violence, KSU report, Kent, 1971.

 

 

“[Ohio National Guard General] Canterbury said no order was given to shoot. ‘A military man always has the option to fire if he feels his life is in danger'.”
--Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article: “4 Die, 10 hurt at KSU”, by Michael Roberts, May 5, 1970.

 

 

“Brigadier General Robert Canterbury, the commander of Guard troops on the Kent State campus, said today no warning had been given to the students that the troop would shoot. General Canterbury, at a campus news conference said in reply to questioning that no official order had been given to open fire…He said a guardsman always has the option to fire if his life is in danger.”
--New York Times newspaper, article by John Kifner, May 5, 1970.

 

 

“A Justice Department summary of an FBI report made after the shootings quotes John Simons, a chaplain of the National Guard as quoting General Canterbury as follows: ‘..Del [General Del Corso] and I had a great time chasing the students around the other night [May 2, 1970] even throwing some rocks back at them’.”
--New York Times newspaper article by Agis Salpukas, July 22, 1975.

 

 

“I brought up that the people must be read the Riot Act and Canterbury said it was a good idea and that I should take care of that…I made the recommendation to use chemical agents [tear gas] and Canterbury concurred with the decision. Fassinger and I were making recommendations and Canterbury was accepting them…Canterbury was there and said something like ‘we’re going to move out’ [disperse the students on the Commons].
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony under oath, 1975.

 

 

“The orders [on the practice field] were coming from General Canterbury and Major Jones. Major Jones seemed to be doing most of the order issuing, but I do not know if they were all being filtered through him from General Canterbury. Major Jones proceeded to one end of the line of troops pointed toward the Dunbar Hall area. He had two groups of about 7 or 8 men kneel down in a line and point their weapons…The locks on their weapons were on and even the order contained ‘with locked weapons and don’t fire just aim…”
--Captain Raymond Srp, Troop G, Ohio National Guard, statement, May, 1970.

 

 

 

MAY 4, 1970: ORDER TO FIRE?

LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHARLES FASSINGER

 

Question: "Well, they were able to hear you when you gave these verbal orders, isn't that so?"
Answer: "I would say most of the the time it took some extra effort to have them hear me".
--Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Fassinger, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

“As we reached the top of the hill by Taylor Hall…some troops fired their weapons…I heard no order to fire and no such order was issued by myself or General Canterbury”.
--Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fassinger, Ohio National Guard, statement, May 1970.

 

 

Question: "Who was in command of the troops, sir, on May 4, 1970?"
Answer: "I was."
--Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Fassinger, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

"By Army definition of military discipline, the purpose of discipline is to elicit an immediate and willing response to an order..."
--Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Fassinger, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

Question: "Some anger and hostility [among 1970 ONG shooters] toward the students?"
Answer: "I am sure that's true, yes, sir."
--Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Fassinger, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

MAY 4, 1970: ORDER TO FIRE?

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD MAJOR JONES

 

"...the intensity of the noise was very high. You couldn't get anybody's attention...I could holler at the top of my voice..."
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

Question: “Why did you turn and face down the hill?”
Answer: “I heard an order, I believe, from Major Jones, stating turn and face the crowd. The shooting started shortly after.”
--Ohio National Guard Sgt. Richard K. Love, statement to Ohio Highway Patrol, 1970.

 

 

Question: "Would you describe what occurred as you reached the pagoda area?"
Answer: "As the troops crossed the crest of the hill, just about the time they started across the crest, the crest of the hill...I hollered to them...and about this time there was an explosion."
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

"...we are about now to the top of the hill...some troops was lagging a little bit behind...I had given some instructions to them to move up...Seconds after that, we heard a report or an explosion of weapons being fired..."
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

“’I accept the guilt--if there is any’, Major Jones said days afterwards. ‘The troops were under my command. I’ve done nothing that I am ashamed of’…Major Jones said he gave no order.”
--Akron Beacon Journal newspaper, “Tragedy in Our Midst”, A Special Report by the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper, May 24, 1970.

 

 

“”I didn’t know why the shooting had started. First, I didn’t hear anyone give any order to fire. Second, people shooting off in trees, in the ground, the firing was done indiscriminately…I wanted to stop the firing because, first, I didn’t hear an order to fire. Second, momentum was gathering and there were more people firing…At the time of the shooting I didn’t hear an order to fire, or anything that sounded like an order to fire over their heads, nor a order to have the troops turn. I saw nothing which led me to believe that there had been an order given for the troops to turn…I told the troops to turn around, face the ROTC building and move out…We had to get off the hill immediately.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“We got to the ROTC building and had the troops line up…The main concern was the investigation of the incident. Canterbury issued a point, Lt. Colonel Spain and Captain Robinson were appointed as the investigation team..At that time everybody asked who gave the order [to shoot], was an order given, because no one heard it. Canterbury, Fassinger, and Captain Martin asked me who had given the order to fire. I told Canterbury I didn’t know. I asked him if he heard it and he said no as I also said no. No one expressed themselves as saying an order had been given at that time.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“In the front seat [of the National Guard jeep, May 4, 1970] was Major Harry Jones, a 43-year-old native of Tennessee who served full-time in the Guard as the 145th Infantry’s training officer. He wore a baseball fatigue cap and…a baton he carried.”
--book Thirteen Seconds, by Joe Eszterhas and Michael D. Roberts, 1970.

 

 

“At noon on May 4 [1970], I had a weapon…That weapon is commonly know as a .22 caliber Baretta [pistol] made in Italy….Captain James Snyder offered me his civilian type weapon…At noon on Monday, I was wearing a fatigue uniform, a soft baseball cap. I had a 2 ½ foot long riot baton made of unbreakable plastic. I didn’t draw my gas mask so I didn’t have it.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“I moved out with [Company C] on the left flank…we proceeded to the top of a hill located left of a building known as Taylor Hall. The remainder of the troops went to the right of Taylor Hall and down the hill into a field...I went down the hill and met [General] Canterbury and [Lieutenant Colonel] Fassinger. After a discussion on the situation it was decided that we should move back to our original position. Troops started to move out…I was behind the troops…I continued to the top of the hill located between Taylor Hall and Johnson Hall…troops on the right flank was starting to turn around to the rear…rounds were fired…At no time did I or did I hear anyone give the order to fire. I did not fire my weapon.”
--Major Harry D. Jones, Ohio National Guard, statement, May 4, 1970.

 

 

“I didn’t see troops pointing their weapons at people on the practice field…I didn’t observe any troops on their knees pointing their rifles in the direction of the people…I had nothing to do with the troops assuming the kneeling position initially…I issued order on the practice field…I said line up, form a wedge get moving. I just hollered to anybody that would hear me…Canterbury and Fassinger issued similar orders.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“The orders [on the practice field] were coming from General Canterbury and Major Jones. Major Jones seemed to be doing most of the order issuing, but I do not know if they were all being filtered through him from General Canterbury. Major Jones proceeded to one end of the line of troops pointed toward the Dunbar Hall area. He had two groups of about 7 or 8 men kneel down in a line and point their weapons…The locks on their weapons were on and even the order contained ‘with locked weapons and don’t fire just aim…”
--Captain Raymond Srp, Troop G, Ohio National Guard, statement, May, 1970.

 

 

“On the practice field, I didn’t give an order for the men to kneel…I didn’t order the men to rise.
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

“…[Major Harry Jones] got some of the men down there [on the practice field] to line up and kneel down and point their weapons.”
--Captain Raymond Srp, Ohio National Guard, Troop G, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“…I didn’t order men to men to kneel and take up firing positions at the northern end of the field. I noticed them kneeling…Various witnesses including [Troop G Captain] Srp are incorrect when say I gave the order for those men to get in the semi-firing position…”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“We stayed on the practice field maybe 10-15 minutes until Fassinger and Canterbury could formulate a plan what they were going to do. They had to come up with a secondary plan as the operation [dispersal] had ended. The decision was made to return to the ROTC building…I assume Canterbury made the decision ..He and Fassinger were talking continuously together so I think they were making the decision…”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“[marching uphill before shooting] The left side was A Company and the right side G Troop. Canterbury and Fassinger were in front of the wedge. The commander was Canterbury with Fassinger assisting him as vice commander. I took up the position in the rear to see the troops move out…I was the rear observer…”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“I don’t recall issuing any other orders on the practice field. I heard no order on the practice field with respect to what should occur when the troops reached the crest of the hill…I heard no communication with respect to the subject of the use of weapons on the practice field or since...It would be 150-200 yards from the practice field to the crest of the hill…It took the troops a matter of minutes to reach that position.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“…I didn’t hear any commands like fire, shoot, etc. Nor did I hear commands to hold up, stay here, or turn around or about face. I gave no such commands.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“I have been trained and train troops not to fire a volley [numerous shots] unless you have been frontally attacked by people with weapons…Those circumstances then were not present…It was in violation of of the policy of the training…one never has a volley against people that are not in the attack with weapons…My personal opinion as a professional officer is that the firing was not justified under those circumstances…It is my honest opinion it should not have happened.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony under oath, 1975.

 

 

“I went to sleep about 8:00 hours Monday morning [May 4, 1970.]…I woke up around 10:00 or 10:30 and was told to report to the operations center for a meeting. I was up throughout the early morning hours. I was mostly working with the staff of the 2nd squadron [Troop G] helping to get their operations under control…I had only had a couple of hour sleep in the last two days. I got in my jeep and reported to the Commons.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“I arrived [Monday, May 4, 1970] at the burned out ROTC building. That is where the troops were gathering at the time…Canterbury and Fassinger were there. I recognized some of the troops there. They would have been from the 145th. Company A and C…There were other troops there. I didn’t know them personally, I knew they were members of the 107th Armored Cav [Troop G]. I don’t know that it entered my mind that the troops had loaded weapons. The commander determined that troops should carry weapons loaded or unloaded.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“ I was not the operations training officer on Monday. I was relieved of that responsibility at 0600 Monday morning, May 4. Major Pletcher and his S-3 section developed the plan for Monday.
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“On Sunday May 3, I was hounded by [KSU Vice President] Matson and [KSU legal adviser] Huffman to give an opinion as pertained to the state code. They made numerous visits asking for me to make a decision and I would not make a decision and told them to wait until I could locate the commander. They were having a meeting and wanted me to come and discuss it with them. Wallach was the commander I had in mind…If it came to a question pertaining to the deployment of the Guard, I would refer them to SOP or that you wait and we will have to discuss the question with the commander…They did ask me about what the Guard’s position would be with respect to assemblies in public…It would have been Matson or Huffman who asked it, they asked most of the questions. I referred them to an opinion that I arrived at from the state code and from the Op Plan 2 that five or more people in a riotous condition would be dispersed.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“We did receive some information re: possible events on the evening of May 3 [1970]. We did develop an operations plan for this. We means myself, Wallach, Thompson, Major Sands, who is the S-1. All the staff would be involved in it. As s-3 officer I information from all these areas when we start operations…and then I would sit down and develop a plan and present it to the commander. That is basically the way the plan was made for Sunday evening. The plan was developed from midmorning until late Sunday afternoon. There came a time when the plan was accepted. The intended duration of the plan would be just Sunday evening. It lasted until the operation ended and we had no control of when it would end...I have no specific recollection of any events that occurred that night.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

“Q) You were in a command position at that time, were you not, as a Major?
A) No, sir.
Q) You were taking all orders from General Canterbury?
A) I was a liaison officer, sent out there as a liaison officer by my Battalion Commander.
Q) You mean that you were merely transmitting orders that General Canterbury was issuing?
A) I guess you would call it that, basically, that is right. Yes.
Q) Well, was it anything other than that?
A) I was not a commander. I was not in a command position so I was a liaison officer. Liaison officers transmit messages, does the bidding that the General would want.
Q) You were down on the practice field later when the troops were kneeling down and taking aim with their loaded weapons, weren’t you?
A) Yes.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

"To commence firing as a mass, you would have to say, give an order..."
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

"I may have said...that I was going to shoot".
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

“There can be no definite statement about what happened in those 13 seconds from any witness except the guardsmen…What prompted the guardsmen to turn as they were retreating down toward the Blanket Hill knoll, back towards the Commons. It is likely a clear answer will not be available until the official investigations are completed…something distracted the attention of the men [Troop G] at the right forefront of the flank…What distracted the men of the right flank? What is Major Jones, their unit commander, the man in the fatigue cap, looking at?...Behind the explanation of the distraction on the right flank [Troop G] may lie the key to the shootings and to 13 seconds the nation will never forget.”
--Cleveland Plain Dealer article, by Joe Eszterhas and Michael Roberts, May 17, 1970.

 

 

“Q) But it was basically your conclusion as a professional officer that that firing was not justified under those circumstances?
A) That is my own personal opinion.
Q) As a military officer?
A) As a military officer…and it’s my honest opinion it should not have happened. As I see it from where I was standing and from what I know about the incident, it was against the concepts and the procedures that we had trained in. So if you were in violation of those guidelines and concepts and procedures, whichever one you want to call them, then something is wrong…
Q) And in fact, not justified?
A) I will have to go on record as saying that, sir, yes.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony under oath, 1974.

 

 

Question: "But do you consider the firing to be indiscriminate?"
Answer: "Definitely...that means that people were indiscriminately firing. Some were firing at trees, into the ground. They were firing all over the place..."
Question: "Is a National Guardsman ever permitted under the regulations to discharge weapons into a crowd at undesignated targets?"
Answer: "No".
Question: "Isn't it a fact that this is what happened at the top of the hill at Kent State University on May 4, 1970?"
Answer: "Yes".
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, testimony at Federal Court, 1975.

 

 

Question: “Isn’t it a fact sir, that there are…circumstances in which a Guardsman may discharge a weapon in a civil disturbance…?”
Answer: “That is correct…if there was an order given by a commissioned officer…preferably a commanding officer…”
Question: “…it is a fact, is it not, that you became in charge of developing the plan that would be implemented by the command, is that correct?”
Answer: “Yes...I was in charge of developing the plan, only the plan."
--Ohio National Guard Major Harry D. Jones, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

“[On May 2, 1970] I pulled my convoy into Kent…I went to the [KSU] administration building and met [Major] Wallach, [General] Canterbury, [General] Del Corso…I was directed to set up the command post in the administration building…I was in the command post Sunday afternoon [May 3] and evening…In the CP [command post] I was in communications with higher headquarters That was primarily Del Corso, the Adjutant General who was at that time in Columbus. I was speaking with him by phone…keeping him updated. There was a meeting in the CP about 2:00am or 3:00am Monday [May 4] morning. I conducted a briefing for the incoming 107th Armored Cavalry [Troop G]…Fassinger…Captain Hinton…Colonel Finley…Canterbury…At 6am we started to control the 107th [Troop g]. It took an hour or two…[at 10am] Canterbury wanted to see us…There was numerous people there…Fassinger...Wallach, myself and others…Canterbury probably said there would be no [May 4] assemblies permitted…there was going to be a rally on the Commons and that it was illegal and would be dispersed…if there was a gathering, peaceful or otherwise, they would be dispersed.”
--Major Harry Jones, Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony under oath, 1975.

 

 

MAY 4, 1970: ORDER TO FIRE?

 

US PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON,

 

OHIO GOVERNOR JAMES A. RHODES

 

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD ADJUTANT GENERAL SILVESTER DEL CORSO

 

“Then I told [President Nixon] of four students killed at Kent State…hoping rioters had provoked the shooting…hope this serves to dampen other demonstrations.”
--from the book: THE HALDEMAN DIARIES, by H.R. Haldeman (Nixon's White House chief-of-staff), 1994.

 

 

“Shortly after hearing about the fatalities…two coeds went over to a group of three Guardsmen standing in front of Memorial Gymnasium…’Two of the men were older and one was very young…I said that I thought [Governor] Rhodes had a lot to do with it. The younger Guardsman said, ‘You’re damn right, sister—this is all Governor Rhodes’s political stunt’. He was about to say more when the older one told him to shut up. We left.”
---KSU student statement, Commission on KSU Violence, KSU report, Kent, 1971.

 

 

“By early 1969, it was clear that [Ohio Governor James] Rhodes…was preparing to run for the United States Senate…Life Magazine…in late April 1969 featured a picture of Rhodes on its cover along with the headline ”The Governor and the Mobster”… Congressman Robert Taft, Jr…announced he would oppose Rhodes in the [May 5,] 1970 Republican primary election for United States Senate…Rhodes again defended his hardline approach to putting down continuing campus upheavals and again suggested Taft would not be nearly as tough…By one count, Rhodes had called out the Ohio National Guard 44 times…After the Kent ROTC building had been torched the night before, Rhodes ordered troops to the campus…dramatically pounded the table at the Kent firehouse and vowed [on May 3, 1970] he would not cave in to this kind of disorder, emotionally calling the students ‘worse than the brownshirt and the Communist element and also the nightriders and the vigilantes. They’re the worst type of people we harbor in America’…On Monday, May 4…four students were killed…”
--from the book: OHIO POLITICS by Alexander Lamis and Mary Anne Sharkey, 1994

 

.

“Rhodes lost the [May 5, 1970] primary election by 5,270 votes, one-half of 1% of 940,000 votes cast. Did the Kent State tragedy beat Rhodes? Polls indicate the opposite. Three polls conducted about a week prior to the primary election showed Rhodes losing by from 7 to 8%. Yet he lost by less than 1%…older, more conservative voters tend to turn out for primary elections, especially Republican primary elections…there is no question that Rhodes’ give-no-quarter stance generally enjoyed wide [Republican] support at the time.”
--from the book: OHIO POLITICS, by Alexander Lamis and Mary Anne Sharkey, 1994.

 

 

“The Governor [James A. Rhodes] said that the meeting was off-the-record and that no notes should be kept. He said that he was there to assume full command of the situation [on May 3, 1970]. He told university representatives that the campus was under Guard control and that they should stay out of it. He said as long as he was Governor of the state of Ohio, the campus would remain open…he intended to keep the classrooms open if it meant keeping an armed Guard in each classroom. He said the National Guard should use whatever force was necessary to disperse any student rallies or meetings, and he did not want to see any two students walking together.”
--Sergeant Michael Delaney, 1970 Ohio National Guard, Federal Court testimony, 1975.

 

 

"Governor Rhodes flew to Kent by helicopter...For several weeks, he had been threatening to use 'all the force that's necessary' to end the campus disturbances in various parts of the state."
--from the book: THE KENT STATE COVER-UP, by Joseph Kelner & James Munves, 1980.

 

 

“On April 4, 1968, [Silvester Del Corso] was invited by Governor Rhodes…to take over the Ohio National Guard. Del Corso was an active adjutant general. He traveled around the state giving speeches, warning of potential trouble, and encouraging mayors to ask for the Guard. He also circularized Ohio’s guardsmen and Guard officials in other states, at Ohio’s expense, urging them to write President Nixon in support of his Vietnam policy and to condemn the peace movement.

“During the two years Del Corso served preceding the Kent shootings, the Ohio National Guard was called out on 31 occasions, six times as often as it had been summoned in the preceding five years of Rhodes’ incumbency and more than any other National Guard outfit in the country….Between April 8 and May 2, 1970, Del Corso dispatched 952 Guardsmen to Cleveland State University, 561 to Miami University in Oxford, 96 to Sandusky, 2,861 to Ohio State University in Columbus and 1,196 to Kent State.”
--from the book: THE KENT STATE COVER-UP, by Joseph Kelner and James Munves, 1980.

 

 

“[General] Del Corso, who called himself a military man and not a politician, regarded SDS and the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam as instruments of an international Communist conspiracy, that is, enemies of the United States. We suspected that Del Corso’s political views had contributed to the guardsmen’s behavior being harsher toward the Kent students…
“Del Corso went with the troops to the Kent State campus on Saturday night and was with them when they dispersed the crowd around the fire, marching across the Commons, over Blanket Hill, and down to the practice field in a maneuver that paralleled the one they would make on Monday. Along with [General] Canterbury, he picked up and threw back rocks that had come in his direction from students.”
--from the book: THE KENT STATE COVER-UP, by Joseph Kelner and James Munves, 1980.

 

 

“When President Nixon came into office, [Ohio National Guard Adjutant General] Del Corso sensed a change from the permissiveness of the Johnson Administration…Most importantly, it is Del Corso who has strongly advocated the policy, rare among military units and directly contrary to Federal Army practices, that Ohio Guardsmen go into riot situations carrying loaded weapons. In April, 1968, shortly after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Del Corso explained the rules…It was this policy, as much as the firing itself, which has drawn criticism of the Guard.”
--Akron Beacon Journal newspaper investigative report, May 24, 1970.

 

 

“Ohio [National Guard] Adjutant General Sylvester T. Del Corso assured Ohioans that local police have the capability to maintain law and order. He said private arms buying was unnecessary. His comments came after he received mail and telephone calls praising his earlier statement saying the National Guard would open fire on looters, arsonists and rioters…We have the capability to maintain law and order…”
--Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article, Police Can Keep Order, Public Told”, April 18, 1968.

 

 

“Should looting and arson be made a capital crime in Ohio? Ohio’s Adjutant General [Ohio’s top National Guard leader] appears to have come very close to making both crimes capital offenses, punishable on the spot…Major General Sylvester Del Corso on several occasions has stated his belief that National Guard troops shoot to maim looters and arsonists…Is there not a better way? …more humane than killing a person…Yes, General Del Corso…there are better ways…not merit a bullet a bullet through the head.”
--Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article, “Shoot-to-Kill View Challenged”, by Richard G. Zimmerman, June 2, 1968.

 

 

“[Ohio National Guard] Adjutant General S.T. Del Corso yesterday recommended that strong action be taken against students and faculty members at state universities who become involved in riots. Del Corso urged in a report to Gov. James A Rhodes that students and faculty members be dismissed…in such cases…’students and faculty must not be permitted to use the campus as a sanctuary for planning and implementing lawless acts’, Del Corso said.”
--Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article, “Campus Crackdowns”, August 12, 1969.

 

 

“The commander of the Ohio National Guard yesterday opened up with his big guns in an attack here against the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (New Mobe) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Adjutant General Sylvester T. Del Corso told a conference of the Progressive Adults of Ohio both organizations are ‘part of the international communist conspiracy’. The SDS is part of the conspiracy to take over schools and colleges that’s been going on for 40 years, he said…‘We Can move against them fast when laws are violated’. Those who practice civil disobedience, he said, are trying to destroy confidence in elected public officials and the nation.”
--Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article, “ONG Head Rips New Mobe, SDS”, January 13, 1970.

 

 

“On Saturday, May 2, when [Ohio National Guard General] Del Corso was leading the troops, he threw a rock at students. Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Carl Kovac heard him say: ‘Throw ‘em back at those b------s’. Kent State student Martin Kurta, former member of the [KSU] student government, heard him say, ‘If these g__-d___ kids can throw rocks, I can too’.”
--book: 13 SECONDS, by Joe Eszterhas and Michael Roberts, 1970.

 

 

“Adjutant General Sylvester Del Corso Tuesday said National Guard troops on duty at Kent State University fired ’32 or 36 rounds’ during the Monday disturbance that killed four persons. ‘No one gave an order to fire’, Del Corso said. ‘This became a self-survival incident motivated by the individuals themselves…’”
--Youngstown Vindicator newspaper, article: “General Says 36 Rounds Were fired”, May 6, 1970.