[Marxism] "protest meetings ... attended by between 50 and 300 soldiers"
brian_shannon at verizon.net
Sat Apr 1 06:01:44 MST 2006
It’s from the archives -
Court-martial for GI Who Protested 1961 “Symbolic” Call-Up
Berkeley Gazette, Mon, Mar 26, 1962
Courtmartial for GI Who Protested.
Ft. Polk, LA (AP) A Texas soldier, accused or criticizing a crackdown
on protests by disgruntled reservists and National Guardsmen, faced a
special court martial today. He is Pfc. Bernis Owen 23, of Seadrift,
Tex., a pre-law student at the University of Teas before he was
summoned to active duty last fall in the big service call-up.
Owen served two years of active duty before being assigned to a
reserve unit to complete his military obligation. Four protest
meetings were held in front of a service club on the post. They were
attended by between 50 and 300 soldiers. A spokesman for [Maj.
General Harley B.] West said the meetings were disorganized and had
as their main purpose the organization of a letter-writing campaign
to Congress with the themes, “We want out” and “We want to know when
we will get out.” …
Charges were brought against Owen for statements he allegedly made
after [General] West, commanding general at Ft. Polk, banned the
protest meetings a week ago. [West said that] the first protest
meetings were orderly and quiet. But … “more recently there have been
contemptuous words and remarks against the President of the United
States and against the Congress and members thereof.”
A day later, Gen. George H. Deneker, Army chief of staff, made public
a letter to top commanders ordering an end to demonstrations.
Ft. Polk has 21,000 troops, including about 15,000 Texas National
Guardsmen in the 49th Division. The other 6,000—virtually all
reservists and Guardsmen—are from 17 other states.
Time Magazine, April 2, 1962
[T]he U.S. Army reservists and National Guardsmen called up last fall
as a symbol of the Kennedy Administration’s intent to stand fast in
Berlin have certainly availed themselves of their squawking
privileges. . . . Yet last week a gangling G.I. learned that
complaint can become insubordination: at Fort Polk, La., Pfc. Bernis
Owen, 23, was sentenced to six months at hard labor for having popped
off once too... [sorry, I don’t subscribe, but this is probably enough]
The Berlin crisis in 1961 demonstrated to McNamara the need for more
troops. In this instance he called up reserves and also proceeded to
expand the regular armed forces. Whereas active duty strength had
declined from approximately 3,555,000 to 2,483,000 between 1953 (the
end of the Korean conflict) and 1961, it increased to nearly
2,808,000 by 30 June 1962. Then the forces leveled off at around
2,700,000 until the Vietnam military buildup began in 1965, reaching
a peak of nearly 3,550,000 by mid-1968, just after McNamara left office.
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