Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Hands Off The Shelter Half
The Army is trying to put the Shelter Half off limits to all servicemen. The GI coffee house at 5437 South Tacoma Way has been open for over a year. Why is the Army just now getting around to this action?
In October the first issue of FED UP was printed and almost 5,000 copies found their way onto Fort Lewis. On October 20, the American Serviceman's Union had a meeting at the Cascadian Service Club on post. 35 GI's were arrested and held for five hours, but no on was charged with anything, mostly because of the solidarity of the men. A few weeks later, a group of black GI's had a meeting at the Pioneer Service Club on main post. Again, MP's broke up the meeting, but again, no one was charged. About 5,000 copies of the second issue of FED UP were distributed on Fort Lewis. Our movement is getting stronger. We're talking and acting about the immediate end to the war in Viet Nam. More and more of our brothers are refusing to fight against the Vietnamese people. We're refusing to fight our own people in the streets of America. We're getting hip to how we're being used to play the cops of the world and we don't like it. We're getting together and the brass are getting uptight.
In a letter to the Shelter Half, the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board said, "The board took this action after receiving information that the Shelter Half is a source of dissident counseling and literature and other activities enimical to the good morale, order and discipline within the Armed Services." What this means when you translate it out of the military double-talk is that the brass are trying to tell us who we can talk with and what we can read. The Shelter Half is one of the links between the GI movement and the civilian movement. They provide material and moral support for our struggle. Now the military wants to keep us from our meeting place. They're afraid of what will happen when we will no longer be used as robots and slaves. But they can't stop us from getting together. The Shelter Half is ours.
On January 21, we are putting the brass on trial. The charges range from inhumane harrassment of GI's to carrying out the war in Viet Nam to the suppression of American people fighting to be free. Witnesses will include active duty enlisted men, victims of the stockade system, Viet Nam veterans, and civilians who have been victims of the military here in the United States. The jury will be made up of active duty, rank-and-file enlisted men. Several Fort Lewis officials will be subpoenaed to appear at the trial and defend themselves. Failure to appear would seem to be an admission of guilt. The trial will be at the HUB Ballroom on the
University of Washington campus. There will be free transportation provided by the Shelter Half and the Fort Lewis American Serviceman's Union for all GI's who want to go. Call the Shelter Half at GR5-9875 so we can get a count of the men who want to go. Rides will be leaving from the Shelter Half at 7:00 Wednesday night
On January 22, the staff of the Shelter Half is supposed to appear before a military board (the same board that decided to start this off limits action in the first place) "to show cause why it should not be placed OFF LIMITS." This hearing will be at the Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle. Outside, while the hearing is going on, there will be a large demonstration of civilians. These people will be showing their support for the GI movement and and protesting the action that the Army is trying to take against the GI movement and the Shelter. Half. The demonstration is centered around seven demands: I) An immediate end to the war in Viet Nam, 2) Freedom for all political prisoners, both military and civilian, 3) Abolish the stockade system, 4) No troops for riot control, 5) An end to the racism in the Armed Forces, 6) Amnesty for all exiles, and 7) End the draft. Civilians realize that we think that both the war and the Army suck, and they're with us in our struggle against the brass of the Army and this country.
The Shelter Half is NOT off limits now. That decision won't be made until January 22. The Fort Lewis American Serviceman's Union has meetings at the Shelter Half on Monday nights and the Shelter Half is open every night from five until midnight or later. Come down and see why the Army is so uptight. You'll see that the Shelter Half is not bad for your morale; maybe the morale of some of the brass, but not your morale.
Fed Up!, vol. 1, no. 3