Associated Press, May 27, 2006


FORT DRUM, N.Y. – The Army has granted an honorable discharge to a South Dakota soldier who successfully fought deployment to Afghanistan by applying for conscientious objector status, according to his lawyer.

Sgt. Corey Martin, 24, applied for a conscientious objector discharge in December. While his application was pending, and with an investigating officer recommending approval, the Army ordered Martin deployed to Afghanistan on March 14. But after an order from U.S. District Judge David Hurd, the Army agreed not to deploy Martin before a final decision by the review board.

The Army Conscientious Objector Review Board approved his C.O. request April 26, according to his lawyer, Deborah Karpatkin, who handled the case for the New York Civil Liberties Union. Martin, who was stationed at Fort Drum in northern New York, was officially discharged last week, the NYCLU said Friday.

A Fort Drum spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny whether Martin was discharged.

Martin, of Brookings, S.D., joined the Army for a five-year enlistment in June 2001. He said he made the decision to join the Army at age 19, six months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In court documents, he said his anti-war feelings surfaced during a Christmas visit with his family in 2002. Martin said he discussed his feelings with his family and began reading anti-war literature.

Martin, who practices Buddhism, said he later realized doing his intelligence job effectively “would cause the death of a person who might otherwise live.”

Paul Boyce, public affairs specialist at the Pentagon, said that during the last calendar year there were 61 such requests and 38 were granted.