AWOL/Desertion 1965-72




  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes an interview with Pvt. Edward Johnson, a deserter living in Sweden.


  • Roy Jones, a deserter, offered asylum in Sweden.


  • Pvt. Philip Wagner deserts to protest US involvement in Southeast Asia.

May 20

  • Louis Armfield, a deserter, given asylum in France.

May 27

  • The Army admits more than 700 GIs have deserted because of their opposition to the Vietnam war.

June 26

  • Terry Klug goes AWOL to avoid shipment to Vietnam.


  • Richard Perrin deserts in Germany and makes his way to France.
  • Seaman David Crane goes AWOL to avoid service in Vietnam.

October 23

  • Four American sailors (Craig Anderson, John Barella, Richard Bailey and Michael Lindner) jump ship when their carrier 'The Intrepid' was in Yosuka, Japan. The men sought the aid of a Japanese peace organization which assisted them in making a filmed interview. The four then flew to the Soviet Union which aided them in finding asylum in the traditionally neutral Sweden where they intend to actively work for peace.


  • Steve Mason goes AWOL to avoid shipping out to Vietnam.

November 21

  • Intrepid 4 appear on Soviet television to condemn US involvement in Vietnam.

December 9

  • Dick Perrin (in an article in The New York Times) announces he would not return to duty until the United States got out of Vietnam.



January 24

  • Pfc. Terry Wilson deserts to avoid shipment to Vietnam.


  • An article, published in The Ally, claims there are more than 100 deserters living in France, 25 in Sweden and others scattered across Yugoslavia, Switzerland and Japan.
  • Liberation News Service reported that the US military estimates there are hundreds of GIs in Bay Area who have gone AWOL in opposition to the War in Vietnam.

February 29

  • Frederick Parese deserts to avoid shipment to Vietnam.

March 27

  • Fred Patrick goes AWOL from El Centro Naval Air Station in protest of Vietnam War.
  • American deserters in Stockholm release statement demanding national independence for Vietnam.

May 4

  • Sp/4 Michael Branch, a Black GI, deserts the army and joins the ranks of the Viet Cong to help in their fight for their independence from foreign domination.
  • 6 American deserters (Joseph Knett, Phillip Callicotte, Mark Shapiro, Edwin Arnett, Charles Kennette and Terry Whitmore) hold press conference in Moscow to denounce the War.

May 25

  • Terry Whitmore + 9 other deserters given asylum in Sweden.


  • Defense Department lists 135 US Servicemen as absentees from the US Armed Forces living in Canada.


  • Portland - AWOL Marine, Glen Davis, announces his resignation from the Marine Corps at a news conference.

December 24

  • Keith Mather and Walter Pawlowskli escape from the Presidio and move to Canada.




  • Richard Perrin leaves France to work with AMEX in Canada.

January 16

  • Terry Klug returns to US and turns himself over to military authorities at JFK Airport.

March 5

  • Senate Committee reports that in the year ending June 30 1968 “a GI deserted on average once every ten minutes” and a GI went AWOL approximately every 3 minutes.

April 16

  • Premier of documentary film Deserter U.S. in Stockholm.

April 29

  • Steve Gilbert goes AWOL after fighting shipping out orders since November 1968.

August 7

  • GI Press Service reports that 90% of GIs in Fort Dix Stockade are guilty of only having gone AWOL.




  • Pentagon reports it is missing 80,000 GIs.

December 16

  • Sgt. James Henry Grant given political asylum in West Germany.




  • The Pentagon reports that in 1970, nearly 1 out of every 12 (89,088) GIs in the Army deserted. A 300% increase since 1966. 228,797 others went AWOL. The Brass also admit there were 209 reported fraggings of officers and NCOs in Vietnam that year.




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