Court martial at Fort Gordon GA by Workers World. June 12, 2008

You can add another name to the growing list of US military personnel who are taking a stand against participating in the US occupation army.

PFC Ryan Jackson, now age 25, joined the Army in May of 2005, hoping that time in the military would offer a path to a college education and a future career.

He went to South Korea as part of the 35th Signal Brigade where he began to question what purpose the US military and foreign policy really served.

By the fall of 2007, Jackson determined that he would not participate in war and attempted to gain an administrative discharge. He went AWOL in Dec. 2007, contacted Courage to Resist and other GI support groups, secured the services of a civilian lawyer, James M. Branum, and turned himself in at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma on Ap. 4, 2008.

On the eve of Jackson’s court-martial, a dozen or so supporters from Augusta and Atlanta, including members of the International Action Center, demonstrated outside the gates of Ft. Gordon. Another young soldier stopped by the vigil to express his solidarity and intent to start a chapter of Iraq Veterans against the War at the base.

The following morning, May 29, several antiwar activists attended Jackson’s court-martial. He pled guilty to the charges but made an eloquent statement declaring his actions a form of “civil disobedience.”

He was sentenced to 100 days in confinement, reduction of rank to E-1, forfeiture of pay and given a bad conduct discharge. Since he is being credited with time served, Jackson will be out in 29 days.

Ryan Jackson plans on speaking at the Veterans for Peace conference and going on a Courage to Resist tour later this summer.