Tuesday, February 06, 2007

First Vietnam War conscientious objector dead at 73

Dale E. Noyd died in Seattle of complications of emphysema on Thursday, January 11. He was born in Wenatchee on May 1, 1933, and was the only member of the 1955 Reserve Officers Training Corps class at Washington State University to be offered a regular, as opposed to a reserve, commission. Noyd was an Air Force captain and fighter pilot for 11 years who was given a medal for successfully landing a badly damaged nuclear-armed F-100 fighter at an English airfield. In 1966, following graduate work in psychology at the University of Michigan, he asked to be allowed to resign or be classified as a conscientious objector in opposition to the Vietnam War. The ACLU represented him in a federal courtroom in Denver in 1967. In December of that year, the Supreme Court refused his case, claiming the military had jurisdiction. Noyd was court-martialed for disobeying orders to train a pilot bound for Vietnam. He was sentenced March 9, 1968, to a year in prison, given a dishonorable discharge, and stripped of his pension and benefits. Noyd was 73.

Flannel Note: I don't usually post obits, but this one seemed special. It is important for us (Americans, that is) to remember our long, deep, proud history of resistance. The powers would like us to believe that being American means doing anything the government or powerful tell us to do. But some of us, like Dale Noyd, it seems, know better. Good-bye, friend I never knew. (Thanks to Jon for passing this on.)

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  • Thanks for sharing this Christian - it also serves as a good way to remind ourselves that there are still people in the world who don't even have the opportunity to be conscientious objectors! So many countries have mandatory military service and so many don't allow conscientious objection. We are lucky here in North America to be able to object. Christianity has a long history of objection and many worked hard to allow the rest of us that freedom

    By Blogger Shannon, at 3:11 PM  

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