First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon, called Long Binh Jail. But LBJ wasn’t for captured enemy fighters. It was for American soldiers.
These were men who had broken military law, and there were a lot of them. As the unpopular war dragged on, discipline frayed and soldiers started to rebel. Some were there for serious crimes, others for small stuff, like refusing to get a haircut.
By the summer of 1968, LBJ had become extremely overcrowded. Originally built to house 400 inmates, it became crammed with over 700 men. On August 29th, 1968, the situation erupted.
This episode originally aired on NPR in 2018.