Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
500 GIs March Against War Oct 12
Between 450 and 500 active duty GI's and 15,000 civilian supporters demonstrated against the Vietnam War on October 12 in San Francisco, California. Despite heavy rains until an hour before the start of the march, the first mass GI antiwar demonstration during the Vietnam War was a tremendous success.
At least one major Army base, the Presidio 6th Army headquarters, cancelled all passes and called mandatory musters of all the post personnel every two hours all day. Passes on other bases were restricted but the military Brass couldn't do this on a wide scale because of the wide-spread support for the action that has built up since August, when the GIs first announced they had called for a demonstration.
Among the speakers were Don Duncan, former M/Sgt in the Green Berets and General Hugh Hester, Ret., who urged GIs to speak out against the war and participate in mass demonstrations.
Lt. Hugh Smith spoke after defeating the Air Force Brass in their attempt to transfer him to Taiwan from temporary duty to stop him from building the October 12 march. Supreme Court justice Douglas gave Smith a stay against the transfer order because of the "serious First Amendment question involved in the transfer". The stay was granted two hours before Smith was to have left for Seattle on route to Taiwan.
A/ic Mike Locks spoke as well after the Air Force cancelled his orders to go to Utah on temporary duty. The Air Force cancelled the orders after Smith received his stay. Locks wore his uniform on the demonstration. "I'm proud to wear my uniform. I can find no better cause to wear my uniform for than the cause of peace," he said.
After the speakers at the formal rally, fifteen GIs from all five branches of the service and veterans spoke over the open mike against the war and the military in general.
Flag in Action, no. 2