Richard Bunch appeared to have serious psychological problems. Hi friends noted that he often talked to himself, woke up screaming during the night and was overly attached to hi crucifix. He wrote notes that shoed inability to adjust to the regimentation of army life.
The army ended that life Oct. 11.
Bunch, a 19-year-old GI from Day ton, Ohio, was shotgunned to death by a stockade guard at the Presidio when he tried to leave a work detail.
Coming on the eve of the first GI and Veterans March for Peace in San Francisco, the shooting touched off the following reactions -
The Monday following the shooting 27 fellow prisoners risked maximum life sentences to protest the need less and tragic shooting.
Attorney Terrance Hallinan wire telegrams to the U.S. attorney genera and the secretary of the army to investigate the "illegal conditions" existing at the Presidio.
A demonstration was held at the Lyon-Lombard St. entrances to the Presidio Sunday in support of the 27 protesting GI's.
Bunch, 5-2 and 120 pounds, was in the stockade for the dastardly deed of going AWOL for 18 days to see his 16 year-old pregnant wife
On Friday, Oct. 11, he was on work detail with three other prisoners. Witnesses said he asked what would hap pen if he tried to escape. "You'll just have to find out," the guard was re ported to have said.
Bunch tried. He got 35 feet. There was no warning shouts, not even warning shots. He was shot in the back. He was dead.
The Army, under the heat of publicity reversed its early judgment of "justifiable homicide" and is now investigating the incident. Stockade guards are issued instructions to shoot fleeing prisoners, and told they will receive general court martials if the prisoner escapes.
Three days later, the 27 stockade prisoners disobeyed orders and re fused to work. They locked arms am sang freedom songs, and managed to smuggle out a list of grievances to attorney Hallinan.
Hallinan called the 27 a "new breed of GI's" and credited the GI anti-war movement with giving encouragement for the servicemen to stand up or their rights.
In their letter to Hallinan, the 27 GI's charged that their guards are improperly trained, sometimes drink on duty and often harass inmates needlessly.
Flag in Action, no. 2