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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Chains Of Freedom Liberate GI's ... But Not For Long.
Resistance by those in service seems to be more bold as the months pass. On July 15, nine AWOL GIs in all branches of service let it be known that they had ended their contracts with the military. The "nine for Peace", five Army, one Marine, two Navy, and one Air Force, all were well aware of the fact that there were easier ways to get out than directly confronting the government with conscientious objections to the war in Vietnam.
Their protest was effected by means of a 48 hour worship service of communion and celebration which began at 1 p.m. July 15 at the Howard Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, and ended prematurely at 10 a.m. on the 17th when military police of the respective branches seized the nine for Peace at another church in Marin City, Calif. Another portion of the special service was a symbolic union between each "ex"-soldier and nine clergymen. Chains and padlocks attached each pair to represent "the bonds of solidarity and brotherhood between all men".
Ally staff member SP/4 ASA was with these men from the night of the 16th until they were taken. There was no physical struggle when the MPs came, which was the request of all concerned. Each pair was taken outside, one at a time, where bolt cutters were used to break the bonds. Apparently the authorities thought that the Rev. Tony Neugent of the Berkeley Free Church was another AWOL, so he was taken by the Navy but was released immediately upon arrival at Treasure island, and the airman was taken to Travis AFB soon after capture. So far, the TI prisoners are totally non-cooperating with their jailers.
Each man issued a statement explaining his action, and through Vincent X., a newcomer to the Ally staff, we were able to obtain statements from some of the clergymen explaining why they involved themselves in an act which makes them liable to Justice Dept. prosecution. Some of the statements follow.
James Seymour, 20 years old, a draftee from Deerpark, N,Y., left the Army while in AIT weapons training at Ft. Ord, Calif. Re said, "I can no longer associate myself with an organization that thrives on death and oppression. I was inducted into the Army unknowing of what duty was. Is it my duty to serve as a mindless animal, as a killer, as a tool in the hands of madmen? I say not. Any system that puts forth a program of depersonalization, any system that thrives on suppression of individual rights, that holds a total disregard for human life, and uses fear to control its servants should not be allowed to further continue to impress the nation's youth into involuntary servitude. I will not be a part of the killing and dehumanization of mankind that is set forth by the military. I will no longer be a part of the United States Army".
The Rev. Charles C. Roberson Jr., who is the United Presbyterian Minister for College of Marin campus said this about the chains: "The chain represents a community between a GI and his Minister and if the MPs break it they have broken the union; if they don't they'll keep the community even in Jail".
Pair two, an airborne marine from Westport, Conn., was with Father Joseph R. Sontag, a Franciscan priest in Oakland, Calif. John Robison, who enlisted in Sept. 1967, had been promised airborne delivery duty if he would volunteer for jump school. He did, but after the school the brass reassigned him to battalion reconnaisance. While in staging at Camp Pendleton, Calif. he had gone AWOL a first time which got him 30 days in the brig. He left again shortly after finishing that sentence. "I moat disavow myself from any organization that commits murder in the name of a political delusion!
Seeing the military for what It really is has served as an ever greater revelation to me, It has given me an awareness of my responsibility as a human being in. a world of shared responsibility. I will not he a party to the rape of this humanity, I will not compromise myself, I will not hill for my country."
Next were ex-Army Steve Anderson of Las Vegas, Nev., and Flint Anderson, a Marin County Resistance Seminarian at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Steve expressed the following, "I went into the Army with the thought of not wanting to kill or destroy. I just wanted to better my life. The recruiter I talked to was very convincing and it sounded good, so I enlisted far a school in mechanics. When I reached Ft. Ord, I went through basic, all the time thinking I was going to get the school of my choice. It didn't work out that way. After basic training, I was told that I was to be in the infantry and not my school. I would he training to kill and destroy, the very things I did not believe in! But I was being trained to do these things without choice. This is why I am doing what I am doing now. I am making my choice. I just don't believe in following blindly while they turn me into something that is trained to destroy and hate. I won't do It."
The remaining pairs were draftee Keith Mather from San Bruno, Calif. And Rev. George Carter, pastor of the Methodist Church of Mill Valley, Calif; Paul Howard of Roy, Utah, a sailor, with Rev. Andrew Juvinall, pastor of the Hamilton Methodist Church In San Francisco; Dale Herrin, also Navy, from Garland, Texas and Father Mark W, Sullivan, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.; Chuck Jones, Army, Fernadina Beach, Florida and Father Richard York, Episcopalian priest from the Free Church, Berkeley; George Dounis of Atlanta, Georgia (Army) and Hen. Phil Farnham of the United Church of Christ, San Francisco.
Both Rev. Juvinall and Father Sullivan urged GIs to write to them in care of the ALLY about any problems. spiritual or otherwise. Too. there are a number of retired Chaplains in the Bay area who know clergy in each branch of the Armed Forces who are wqilling to use their influence when needed.
Airman Oliver Hirsch of Washington, D.C., did not have a prepared statement because he actually joined the other eight after the service had begun. Hirsch, who had a high level security clearance, had been stationed at Almaden Air Force Station, Calif., where he instructed interceptor and bomber pilots in certain aspects of radar. From October of 1967, until April, 1968, he became more concerned about the war - saw dead bodies coming back, talked with gung-ho pilots, finally saw the "shrink". The airman became very up-tight with the psychiatrist as this person gave the pro-American bit and suggested that the only thing wrong was Hirsch's politics. The commie gave this bit of advice, "Everybody should review his conscience about this war ... It he can justify it morally, then he should continue. If in doubt, he should look to what other people are doing".
In this final bond of solidarity far conscience, was Rev. Donald Cowan, director of the Good Samaritan Community Center in San Francisco. The Rev. explained that it was just by chance he was at the Howard church when Oliver Hirsch decided to be the ninth one for Peace. He explained that the chains were a symbol and added, "It will force the church to put Itself where it says it is in reference to Peace".
Since 6 p.m. on July 11, there has been a Vigil in support of the nine for Peace, located at the Lombard street entrance to the Presidio. It was announced that this Vigil will remain until the military decides what to do with these "ex-servicemen".
The Ally, no. 8