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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Free Speech Put-Down At Jackson
GIs at Ft Jackson, South Carolina are circulating a petition addressed to their Post Commander calling on him to authorize and provide facilities for an open meeting (Feb 26) on the post where the soldiers can talk about the rights of GIs and the War in Vietnam. They also want to discuss whether the rights of GIs have been violated by the authorities at Fort Jackson.
The petition is being circulated by a group of guys who have decided to call themselves "GIs Against the War in Vietnam. The group has come about as a result of harrassment, attempted intimidation and arrests by the Brass.
Army authorities directed their initial attacks against a group of black GIs in B-14-4. Thirty guys in that company had been getting together to hear taped speeches of Malcolm X and to discuss the war as it relates to Black GIs.
The Brass, apparently afraid to see any GIs get together, responded in two ways. First they informed the company that this was the "URI" Season and therefore no more than eight GIs .t a time could congregate in the barracks rooms (of course, classes weren't called off). Secondly, the officers launched a campaign to intimidate the GIs by arresting three Black soldiers, Pvts Davis, Madison and Tommer on phony assualt charges. Another leader of the group, Private Pully, is being tried for allegedly refusing to go to bed. He was sitting on his bed when a Sargeant came in and told him to go to bed. He said "I'm already in bed". He is now being charged with refusing to obey a direct order, of course.
There have been attempts to stir up racist fears and hostility against the soldiers with tales of Mau Mau and Black Panther conspiracies. They have not been successful. The group has grown and white GIs have joined.
The guys were not scared off by the harrassment. When the arrests were made, 60 soldiers in a solid group confronted the CO for an explanation. Then they made sure that their brothers got Legal Council, and after that got the word out to civilian friends who could prevent the Army from covering up what was happening.
Instead of backing off, they are challenging the Brass as a united group. They are aware that their only strength and protection is in their numbers, that the only way they are going to get anything is if they stick together and force the Brass to heed.
Fun Travel Adventure, no. 7