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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Free Richard Chase
Pvt Richard Chase has now been confined to the Fort Hood stockade for 21/2 months, most of it in solitary confinement. During this imprisonment, he has been beaten by guards on at least 4 occasions. His crime? Refusing to aid in the suppression of the constitutional rights of American citizens
When Chase was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division in January 1969, he explained to his CO and First Sergeant that he was a Conscientious objector and could not participate in riot control training. The CO and First Sergeant, rather than have Chase apply for official status, agreed to treat him as a Conscientious Objector.
But in June, he began talking to other GIs about the war in Vietnam and the need for GIs to organize to defend their rights. He started working on the antiwar GI paper Fatigue Press and frequenting the Oleo Strut coffeehouse.
The brass decided to get rid of this "troublemaker." On September 11, Chase's CO gave him a direct order to participate in "riot control" training as a "dissident" -- an order which the officer knew he would refuse. Chase, citing the way in which riot control units have been used to suppress the legitimate protests of black communities, declared that he would not help the Army train for the suppression of people whose protests he fully supported. Chase was then read general court martial charges for refusing the order. Two weeks later he was placed in the stockade in "pre-trial confinement." He has been there ever since. (By way of contrast, note that Lt. William Calley, who is charged with the murder of more than 100 human beings, is allowed the freedom of Fort Benning.)
A Richard Chase Defense Committee has been formed to fight this victimization of a GI because of his views. The committee has asked for letters, telegrams and petitions containing two demands to be sent to Maj. Gen. Beverly Powell, the commanding general of III Corps, and Maj. Gen. Wendell 3. Coates, commanding general of the 2nd Armored Division. The 2 demands are:
l)The immediate freedom of Richard Chase and the dropping of all charges against him.
2)An end to the brutality and inhuman conditions in the stockade. The committee asks that letters to Congress also request a Congressional investigation of stockade conditions.
Copies of all protest should be sent to: Richard Chase Defense Committee, c/o Oleo Strut 101 Avenue D Killeen, Texas 76541
GI Press Service, vol. 1, no. 13