Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Bill Of Rights And GI Paper Win Early Out For Marine
On June 19, Bob Kukiel, a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, requested mast in order to see the base commander, Major General Tompkins. Kukiel intended to use the interview in order to request formal permission to distribute the Bill of Rights and Head On!, Camp Lejeune's antiwar paper, on the base.
Five days later, Kukiel was allowed to see General Bale, Force Troops Chief of Staff . Kukiel handed him the written distribution request and the Colonel promised to pass it on to the Base Inspector, who is second-in-command.
Kukiel heard nothing more directly about his request.
But, on the morning of June 27, Bob was called in to see his CO, who asked him if he would like to be discharged under the Marines' early.out program. (His normal discharge date would. Have been September 21.) After carefully considering the question for 1/30 of a second or so, Bob accepted the offer. He was honorably discharged on July 1.
But there are a few more details deserving attention. For one thing, under Marine Corps regulations, only certain MOS's are eligible for an early out. Bob's MOS - radio telegraph operator - is not.
This requirement was waived, according to Kukiel's CO, because Bob's lack of security clearance kept him from practicing his MOS. However, that lack didn't prevent him from being a radio telegraph operator in Vietnam for a year; and for the last six months he had been assigned to repairing communications helmets, a task which the Marine Corps didn't regard as usleless until Bob asked to distribute literature.
And even before he was offered the discharge, Kukiel had learned through the grapevine that the word had come down from Force Troops headquarters to let him out of the Corps as soon as possible.
Bob was present for the antiwar conferences in Cleveland the July 4 weekend and told us he plans to continue working with the antiwar movement at Camp Lejeune. “The way the brass figures it,” he said, “is that by releasing me from active duty, they won't have to reply to my request. However, I have already decided that one way or another they will have to answer it - or another made by someone else.”
GI Press Service, vol. 1, no. 3