Here's a very interesting report about a topic I hadn't considered: gang members joining the military to learn urban combat techniques.

The Gangster Disciples are the most worrisome street gang at Fort Lewis because they are the most organized, Barfield said.

Barfield said gangs are encouraging their members to join the military to learn urban warfare techniques they can teach when they go back to their neighborhoods.

"Gang members are telling us in the interviews that their gang is putting them in," he said.

Joe Sparks, a retired Chicago Police gang specialist and the Midwest adviser to the International Latino Gang Investigators Association, said he is concerned about the military know-how that gang-affiliated soldiers might bring back to the streets here.

"Even though they are 'bangers, they are still fighting for America, so I have to give them that," Sparks said. "The sound of enemy gunfire is nothing new to them. I'm sure in battle it's a truce -- GDs and P Stones are fighting a common enemy. But when they get home, forget about it."

The story also mentions that gang-affiliated soldiers have been caught stealing military equipment such as body armor to send back home to their gangs.

I previously would have thought that the sort of people who become soldiers and the sort of people who join gangs would be pretty different, and that military training would overwhelm and replace any gang loyalties a soldier might have had in their former life, but apparently not. I can't imagine that gangster soldiers are a huge problem, but it's nice to know that someone is keeping tabs on the situation.

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