TIKRIT, Iraq – Two U.S. Army medics in Iraq have applied for conscientious objector status and want to be honorably discharged from the military because the idea of killing is "revolting" to them, their company commander said Tuesday.
The two soldiers, both privates first class, notified the Army of their request on Feb. 9, the day before their Germany-based 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment deployed to Iraq, Capt. Todd Grissom said.
Grissom would not identify the two soldiers, saying only that they come from California and Illinois.
"They both think it's wrong to bear arms and don't want to be involved with the war," Grissom, from Houston, Texas, told The Associated Press. "To them, the thought of having a gun or having to kill someone is revolting."
Both men have been assigned to duties at a military aid station at a U.S. base on the outskirts of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's former hometown, Grissom said.
Army chaplains have interviewed both men to hear the reasons behind their requests, and their cases are being investigated by a battalion officer.
"As commanders, you don't hope for such things because if everyone in the Army was like that we would have no one to defend us," Grissom said. "However, I believe that you have to have a process like that to treat someone fairly and ensure their particular case can be reviewed."
News of the two soldiers' requests follow another application for conscientious objector status by Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia of Miami Beach, Fla. He surrendered Monday at an air force base in Massachusetts five months after failing to return to duty while on home leave after serving in Iraq.