Notable Acts of GI Resistance During the Vietnam War
These are a few but not all of the acts of resistance during the war. Everything from refusal to go to Vietnam, organizing demonstrations, printing GI anti-war newspapers, desertion to Canada and refusing to fight in Vietnam were some of the manys acts of resistance by GI's during the war.
June- Lt. Richard Steinke, a West Point graduate and Green Beret Officer court-martialed in Vietnam for "wilful disobedience to expose himself to hostile elements and hazardous condition" while in Vietnam.
November - Lt. Henry Howe of Fort Bliss participates in civilian peace demonstration in El Paso, Texas. Court-martialed and sentenced to two years hard labor at Fort Leavenworth.
POWs Sgt. George Smith and Sp/5 Claude McClure released by National Liberation Front. The two hold a press conference to express their opposition to the war and state their intentions to actively work against it.
June- Privates James Johnson, Dennis Mora and David Samas, so-called "Fort Hood 3" (Texas), publicly refuse orders to Vietnam.
October - Army Doctor Howard Levy refuses to train Green Beret medics at Fort Jackson (South Carolina). His court-martial became a cause célèbre. Sentenced to three years at Fort Leavenworth.
June- GI newspaper The Bond founded in Berkeley, California. In early 1968, moved to New York City where it became the voice of the American Servicemen's Union.
July - Camp Pendleton Marines William Harvey and George Daniels call a meeting to question why black men should fight a white man's war in Vietnam. Sentenced to six and ten years respectively.
October - Sailors Richard Bailey, John Barilla, Craig Anderson and Michael Linder, desert from the carrier USS Intrepid while on leave in Japan.
First GI coffeehouse "UFO" opens near Fort Jackson (South Carolina).
December - American Servicemen's Union forms.
January- GIs arrested for distributing anti-war, anti-racism literature at Fort Sam Houston (Texas).
February - MPs break up a silent protest against the war by 35 soldiers at Fort Jackson.
GI newspapers founded: Fatigue Press at Fort Hood; FTAat Fort Knox (Kentucky); The Ally in Berkeley, California.
July - nine AWOL GIs chain themselves to clergymen in San Francisco church and announced they are taking public sanctuary. Became known as the "Nine for Peace."
July - Fort Bragg (North Carolina) stockade uprising, sparked by the beating of a black inmate.
August - troops in the Da Nang (Vietnam) Marine brig riot in protest over prison regulations, injuring seven prisoners and a guard.
Long Binh (Vietnam) stockade erupts in riot, killing one soldier and injuring 58 prisoners and five MPs.
Forty-three soldiers at Fort Hood and 150 at Fort Carson (Colorado) refuse riot duty at the Democratic National Convention.
GI coffeehouses established: "Oleo Strut" in Killeen, Texas (near Fort Hood); "Mad Anthony Wayne's" in Waynesville, Missouri (near Fort Leonard Wood); "Shelter Half" in Tacoma, Washington (near Fort Lewis).
October - Navy Nurse Susan Schnall drops leaflets from an airplane onto five San Francisco Bay area military bases to mobilize soldiers for an anti-war rally. She was later court-martialed.
Twenty-seven inmates at the Presidio Stockade in San Francisco, California (Presidio 27) stage a sit-down strike to protest killing of fellow prisoner Richard Bunch, and to demand changes in stockade conditions. Twenty-two were convicted of mutiny, two of disobeying an order, and three others escaped the stockade and fled to Canada.
During the year - GI newspapers founded: aboveground at Fort Carson (Colorado); Bragg Briefs at Fort Bragg (North Carolina); Left Face at Fort McClellan (Alabama); Gigline at Fort Bliss (Texas).
February - 56 WACs (Women's Auxiliary Corps) at Fort Sam Houston (Texas) march to protest military repression.
March - "Fort Jackson 8" (South Carolina) hold anti-war meeting on-base; file suit against the Army for permission to protest the war without harassment.
May - black GIs in the maximum-security section of the Fort Carson stockade overpower guards and take three white MPs hostage.
June - uprising at the Fort Dix (New Jersey) stockade when 150 prisoners took over three of the stockade's 12 buildings, leading to the case of the "Fort Dix 38" who were court-martialed on arson and riot charges.
July - dispute over discrimination at the Camp Lejeune (North Carolina) Enlisted Men's Club erupts into a brawl, resulting in 14 injured and one dead.
August - airman Louis "Buff" Parry takes refuge in the Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, Hawaii. On August 9th he spoke a peace rally urging GIs to launch a strike against the military. In all, 38 GIs participated in the sanctuary until MPs broke it up on September 12th.
Minor scuffle at a Fort Bragg Enlisted Men's Club turns into a huge brawl, pitting black and white enlisted men against white MPs and NCOs.
September - uprising at Camp Pendleton (San Diego, Calif.) brig, which had a reputation for being most oppressive. Men from "A," "B," and "C" companies rioted, leaving the prison in shambles.
October - nearly 100 Fort Bragg soldiers, mostly Vietnam veterans, march in a moratorium demonstration in Fayetteville.
November - full-page ad appears in The New York Times Sunday edition calling for an end to the war and support for the November 15th mobilization in Washington, D.C. The ad was signed by 1,366 active-duty servicemen and women.
136 GIs stationed in Long Binh, Vietnam sign petition in support of November 15th Moratorium.
250,000 people attend Moratorium in Washington, D.C., including large contingent of GIs.
Thanksgiving Day - more than 100 servicemen from the 71st Evacuation Hospital and the 44th Medical Detachment at Pleiku, Vietnam abstain from traditional turkey dinner as a protest against the war.
December - 1,000 servicemen and women join a crowd of 4,000 in a march and rally near Camp Pendleton.
Christmas Eve - 50 soldiers gather at JFK Square in downtown Saigon to distribute leaflets asking GIs to stop all fighting and declare a cease-fire for the Tet holiday in February.
During the year - Movement for a Democratic Military (MDM) forms at Camp Pendleton.
January - picket line of 80 soldiers at Fort Bliss (Texas) greets Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland on his visit to El Paso.
March - rally in El Paso's McKelligan Canyon attended by more than 800 servicemen and women.
April - American Servicemen's Union calls for a world-wide GI strike. Actions took place at Fort Lewis, Fort Dix and Fort Carson.
Spring - Concerned Officers Movement (COM) founded in Washington, D.C.
Uprisings at minimum-security Special Processing Detachments (where men about to be discharged from overcrowded stockades were sent) at Fort Knox, Fort Dix, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Ord.
Armed Forces Day - demonstrations at twelve Army and Marine Corps posts and a number of Air Force and Navy bases; military forced to cancel Armed Forces Day exhibitions at 28 bases.
July - some 200 soldiers, mostly black, at Fort Hood launch a major rebellion, closing off a six-block area of the base and clashing with MPs; several of the buildings on base were damaged.
200 soldiers, mostly black, take over a section of Fort Carson, pelting MPs with rocks, bottles and other debris.
September - Concerned Officers Movement holds a press conference to issue an anti-war statement signed by 80 active-duty officers.
November - six COM members hold a press conference urging the trial of Lt. Calley (My Lai) be halted and calling for an investigation of criminal responsibility of senior American commanders.
December - huge uprising in the Fort Hood prison, sparked by refusal of guards to provide medical care for a sick prisoner.
May- 300 airmen gather in London's Hyde Park to present an anti-war petition to the U.S. Embassy; commanders singled out Captain Tom Culver for punishment, and he was court-martialed.
July - 53 black GIs in Darmstadt, West Germany arrested after trying to meet with the battalion commander to discuss the earlier arrest of a fellow GI -- became known as the "Darmstadt 53."
September - thousands of signatures collected in Saigon, Cam Ranh, Pleiku, and elsewhere on petitions to Congress expressing opposition to U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia.
October - just before departure of the USS Constellation from San Diego, nine sailors seek sanctuary in Christ the King Church and publicly refuse to go to Vietnam.
November - USS CoralSea sails from San Francisco; 35 sailors stay behind.
January- airmen demonstrate at Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio), Mountain Home AFB (Idaho) and Travis AFB (California) in response to Nixon's intensification of air attacks during Christmas.
May - Air Force Sergeants Tom Andric and Wayne Evans from Clark Air Force Base (Philippines) hold press conference at the National Press Club in Manila to denounce U.S. escalation of bombing during Easter offensive in April, and to expose the use of American bases as "forward staging areas."
Air Force Captain James Strain, B-52 pilot, Captain Michael Fugger, co-pilot, Lt. Arthur Watson, electronic warfare crewman, and Captain Donald Dawson, B-52 pilot, join N.Y. Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Cambodian bombing. Dawson later refused to participate in the bombing.
December - Air Force Captain Dwight Evans, F-4 Phantom pilot refuses to fly when ordered to strike North Vietnam as part of the December bombing campaign, saying he can no longer participate in the war. Nine days later Captain Michael Heck, B-52 bomber pilot, also refuses to fly.