Gangs in the Military


Military Gangs
Although there have been gang members in the military for years, the U.S. military have only recently admitted to having a problem.   This has become an increasing problem in every branch of service, especially the U.S. Army, Army Reserves, and the National Guard.   Members of nearly every major street gang have been identified on both domestic and international military installations. (National Gang Intelligence Center, January 2007)   These individuals enlist in the military for several reasons.   Although only a small segment of military members are actually affiliated with gangs (approximately 1 percent), it has created several new issues for military and public law enforcement to contend with.          
Reasons for Joining the Military
The reasons gang members enlist in the military vary from individual to individual.   Some enlist to escape prosecution by civilian authorities for crimes they have committed or as in the pass some were given an option, join the military or go to jail. Others join in an attempt to escape the gang life.   These individuals are either attempting to better themselves by starting a new life or on the run from the gang(s) they are affiliated with.   In many cases they are in fear of their safety and have nowhere else to go.   As many of gangs become more organized and sophisticated, they have adopted new tactics and strategies on the way they conduct themselves.   Some of these methods include changing the way they dress, not getting gang affiliated tattoos, and encouraging members to join the military.  
Individuals who are encouraged to join the military are recruited for several reasons.   One reason is to acquire knowledge of and have access to military weapons and explosives.   In one instance, a gang member in the Army smuggled home four AK-47s from Iraq that were used to commit multiple bank robberies.   (Gustav Eyler, 09 March 2009)   Gang members are also interested in learning...