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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Every Individual In The Military Service Is Entitled To The Same Constitutional Rights, Privileges, And Guarantees As Every Other American Citizen, Except Where Specifically Denied Or Limited By The Constitution Itself. (Judge Robert E. Quinn Court Of Military Appeals, 1954)
Unfortunately for the men and women in service this enlightened opinion does not square with the reality of life within the military. As General Leonard F. Chapman, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps states, “I can think of nothing less democratic than the military.”
Freedom of speech, for instance, is guaranteed only to those GIs whose opinion! we in agreement with official military policy. This is certainly true of expressed opinions relating to the war in Indochina.
**At least one GI has been arrested for distributing subversive material when he passed out copies of the Bill of Rights.
**GIs are regularly harassed, intimidated or arrested for having a perfectly legal “underground” newspaper in their possession.
**Unpopular opinions (especially political ones) often result in job reclassification, sudden shipment orders, harassment, additional details promotion pass-over, or:
**Selective application of the UCMJ and excessive punishments for trivial or nonexistent offenses while those holding “proper” opinions get away with murder–literally.
**Those GIs who don't have a “popular” skin color (white) are too often discriminated against in military courts, job assignments, promotions, etc.
Servicemen and women who write their Congressman or Senator to complain about denial of Constitutional rights often discover they have written to someone more Gung Ho military than the person who denied those rights in the first place. The usual response is advice to shape up–or a form letter from an assistant saying the complaint has been forwarded to the “proper” agency. That usually means the letter will end up back with the C.O. - and more “heat”.
There are, however, certain Senators and Congressmen who do want to help. Unfortunately they lack the machinery to document and check each letter received. But now servicemen and women have their own GI OFFICE
**Letters to Congressmen and Senators sent through the GI OFFICE will be hand delivered to those most appropriate and sympathetic.
**The GI OFFICE will immediately send a receipt to the sender stating to whom the letter has been given and what action is being taken. In short the GI OFFICE will “bird dog” your complaint.
**Certain Senators and Congressmen have agreed to pass along letters received directly from servicemen to the GI OFFICE so complaints can be documented and collected in one central place.
This is so it can be shown that your unit or post is not the only one violating the rights of individuals.
The GI OFFICE is yours-Use it. GI OFFICE, P.O. Box 9746, Washington, D.C. 20016
Rap!, no. 9