Approximately 700 active-duty GIs marched on October 12th in opposition to the war in Vietnam. The march was the culmination of weeks of hard work by active-duty GIs and veterans In the face of repressive opposition by the military. Thin GI march represents a new stage In the widening political protest of citizen-soldiers, sailors, and airmen.
This new stage in peace activities by active-duty GIs is an Important development. It represents the culmination of what began from a series of isolated individual protests: the October march represents a new beginning in the organization of GI Power.
The first stage was initiated through individual protests by GIs who were making their own private moral protest against the war. Resistance to the war was touched off by the Fort Hood Three - Dennis Mora, David Samas and James Johnson - who refused to beard a ship for Vietnam on July 1, 1966. In 1966 there were approximately 20 known cases of resistance within the service.
Throughout 1967 courts martial occurred of dissenting GIs: Capt. Howard Levy, Andy Stapp (now editor of the Bond), Ron Lockman, a black GI who thought his fight was in the American ghetto, and Fred Chard, who refused to even return to Okinawa. During the same month that Lockman was convicted, three Navy enlisted men jumped ship in Japan and made their way to Sweden. Ken Stolte and Dan Amick, who printed an anti-war leaflet at Fort Ord got three years. There are numerous other cases of protesting GIs.
The second stage of protest was the appearance of the anti-war GI newspapers: The Bond was the first, then The Ally and Vietnam GI, both of which emerged during February of 1968. Such papers each quite different - spread the word of growing dissent within the Army. At the present time they play a crucial role in awakening the political consciousness of GIs everywhere.
The GI March is but a third stage and a new beginning to the GI resistance movement. This is not the first time that protest movements have asserted themselves within traditional military structures. And, in the US Army in the Phillipines, at the end of the Second World War, troops organized to force the brass to get them home.
GIs are preparing to play a vital role in the transformation of their country. Important hurdles have been overcome in the formation of a GI resistance movement. Much hard work remains to be done. It's up to you!
The Ally, no. 11