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Page 17
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<< 16. South Africa: Operation 'Tar Baby' 

G.I.s Struggle


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Baby's Death Sparks Protest

Rhonda Pervis, a WAVE stationed at Pearl Harbor, has started a campaign against lack of medical acre in the Navy. Medical care has always been a problem for enlisted people in the military and it's especially bad if you're a woman. Last month, Rhonda was placed on a strict restriction for Unauthorized Absence. She was six months pregnant at the time. Regardless of this condition, her Commander, Capt. F.W. Benson, Commanding Officer, Naval Station, Pearl Harbor, ordered her confined to the duty room in the barracks and allowed no visitors. Under Navy regulations, no person can be restricted or confined when they are medically unfit for such restriction.

Rhonda began having complications with her pregnancy and went to a military medical officer. He recommended to Capt Benson that Rhonda be sent to Tripler Army Hospital for prenatal care immediately. Rhonda renewed her request to be released from restriction to get proper medical attention. Capt Benson ignored the doctor's recommendation and refused Rhonda's request. Two days later, Rhonda lost her baby.

Since she lost the baby, she has seen a civilian doctor. He stated, "In my opinion, it is detrimental to her mental health to be on restriction. I strongly advise that the restriction be lifted and that she be discharged from the Navy as soon as possible." On Dec. 5th, Rhonda again filed to be taken off restriction and to be discharged -- she has not yet received a reply.

The GI organizing project in Hawaii, LIBERATED BARRACKS, has been working with Rhonda to try to get her released as well as to fight the lack of decent medical care and the outrageously callous treatment of women in the military. The project has been circulating a petition calling for:

1. We demand the health care that was promised us when we enlisted. Our health is a right that should not be denied. There is no excuse for this kind of negligence.
2. We demand a Congressional investigation. The officer involved in this case should be investigated and punished as directed by the UCMJ.
3. We demand that Rhonda Pervis be immediately taken off restriction and honorably discharged.

For more information and copies of the petition, contact: Rhonda Pervis, c/o LIBERATED BARRACKS, 525 N. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua, Hawaii 96734.


Hair Resister Freed: Wire Tap Evidence Uncovered

(Heidelberg, West Germany)--Louis Stokes, who has been in prison for more than two months for refusing to get a haircut, has been set free because the Army "discovered" that it had tapped a conversation about him and his lawyer. At the court-martial, where Stokes was sentenced to four months in the stockade, the Army testified that there had been no wire taps.

The Army's chief of intelligence in Europe, Brig. Gen. Thomas Bowen, submitted an affidavit to the court-martial which said in part, "I have determined that no such telephone or electronic monitoring has been conducted." In a memorandum that was released to Stokes' layers and to the press on December 4th, the Army said., "It has subsequently come to the attention of headquarters USAREUR that on one occasion, a conversation was legally intercepted." The memo went on to say, "In the interest of fairness and justice this conversation should be set aside."

All this Army double talk around the Stokes trial is part of a new disclosures that the Army in Europe has been wiretapping groups that they consider "subversive." The Lawyers Military Defense Committee, which provides legal help for GI's, and a GI organizing group in Germany, FORWARD, have been fighting the wiretapping for about a year; now, the Army has been forced to admit at least some of their activity. In addition to the wiretapping, the Army has also been employing informers to spy on these groups. The LMDC, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, has filed a suit against the Army for their illegal activities as well as the Army's attempt to cover these activities up.

Labor Leader Backs GI Strike

William Nuchow, a Teamsters union official, WWII vet and self-described "hardhat," has recently left for West Berlin to testify on behalf of 17 GI's being court-martialed for going on a 24-hour strike against command racism and for the right to wear long hair and beards. Nuchow, the father of Robert Nuchow, one of the 17 GI's of C/94th Arty (Berlin Brigade) charged with mutiny as a result of the strike, said he stands "100%" behind his son.

The senior Nuchow is Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 940 and feels that all soldiers should have the right to wear long hair and beards if they so choose. Regarding a recent phone call with his son. Nuchow commented: "He said, 'Dad, you might not like this because you are sort of a hardhat type guy but I'm still standing up for my principles.' Sure, I'm a hardhat type but still I can't imagine this happening in 1974." The maximum sentence for mutiny according to the UCMJ regulations is death by hanging.

Nuchow, a veteran of the 5th Army that served in Italy during WWII, pointed out the vast support the hair cut resisters have in the Berlin Brigade as evidenced by the 1200 GI's that have signed a petition of support for the haircut struggle. "And Robert has a lot of support among the Local 940 membership too," he said. "There are a lot of long haired veterans of Korea and Vietnam in Local 940 who are behind us."

<< 16. South Africa: Operation 'Tar Baby' 

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