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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
People's Army Invades Dix, Demands Freedom For GIs
The marchers moved forward 8 abreast and the line stretched back as far as you could see. It was October 12, 70 miles south of New York City at Fort Dix, N.J. There were maybe 10,000 people, men and women.
They marched past the gas stations, houses and hamburger stands of Wrightstown toward Fort Dix, chanting in an angry roar their demands for freeing jailed GIs and ending the war.
It was a people's army - as yet unarmed. Banners carried by the American Servicemen's Union stood out in a forward section. Marching with the ASU contingent were ASU leaders, ex-GIs and active duty GIs on leave or AWOL.
But leading the huge march were young women. Women determined to show the world that they were in the front of the battle to free their brothers from the military dictatorship.
The column marched past abandoned barracks and signs barring demonstrations, as MPs scurried to eject stray photographers who ran onto the base from the road. Then suddenly the front of the column swerved left, off the road and entered the base in a mass. The thousands of marchers followed, stirring dust from the grassy field.
Then the Brass sent hundreds of MPs running across the field with clubs, bayonets and gas masks to intercept the marchers.
But the marchers continued to advance defiantly until they were face to face with the lines of MPs. Then the two forces stood still, holding their ground as the young men and women appealed to the MPs to act as GI brothers and not as cops. But these were for the most part special MP pigs flown in from Fort Meade, Md.
The Brass had feared to use Dlx GIs as MPs because of their great sympathy with the marchers. The Brass also had shown their fear of this unity of feeling between the thousands of young people and the GIs by sending some 375 stockade prisoners to other base stockades just before the march and also granting passes to nearly all SPD inmates to get these militant guys out of the area.
As the marchers faced the MPs, a plump colonel alighted from his car behind the MPs and hurriedly consulted with another well-fed officer.
An order was given.
MPs carrying special gassing guns opened up and a cloud of tear gas enveloped a large section of the demonstrators.
The marchers put on plastic gas masks and retreated slowly, prodded by the now advancing MPs, to the roadway. At first there was confusion; then the march reassembled and continued with the Brass sending MPs to stand in a solid line along the roadwhich forms the perimeter of the base, barring any further entry by the marchers.
But the marchers continued to express their demands and continued to appeal to these MPs to act as GI brothers, not as pigs for the Brass.
And throughout the base the 32,000 GIs heard the story of the march. In particular the point came in loud and clear to those courageous men imprisoned in the Dlx pound and facing trial for the rebellion of June 5th.
The Bond, vol. 3, no. 10