Image July 26, 2007 Update

After nearly seven months in Fort Sill, Oklahoma military brig, Iraq War veteran turned GI resister Army Spc. Mark Wilkerson is finally free! Prior to sentencing, Mark explained, “I could not [again] deploy to a foreign land with a weapon in my hand, representing my government. I am not willing to kill, or be killed for my government. When I enlisted in the Army, I thought I would be able to, but after Iraq, my beliefs became such that I could no longer participate.”

Only days after being released, Mark has already begun working with Iraq Veterans Against the War. He is looking forward to attending the upcoming Veterans for Peace national convention next month in St. Louis where he will be joining the Courage to Resist panel discussion on GI resistance in the military today.


“There comes a time in a person’s life when they must do the right moral decision for themselves, doubtless of how popular that decision is in other’s eyes, or what others feel about it,” stated Army Specialist Mark Wilkerson before the national media in August 2006 at Camp Casey in Crawford, TX. Wilkerson also announced his intention to turn himself in to military authorities at nearby Ft. Hood after being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) for over a year and a half.

Wilkerson was deployed to Iraq in March 2003 with the 720th Military Police Battalion. Upon his return form Iraq in March of 2004 immediately applied for conscientious objector (CO) status and a discharge from the military. “There were many experiences that I had in Iraq that made me question my mission, and also made me change the way I viewed spirituality, relationships, our government and my life in general. It was a complete life turn-around, which allowed me to come to the conclusion that military service was no longer the correct path for me to take.”

Wilkerson told himself that he would never return to Iraq but while the Army reviewed his C.O. application in July 2004 he was ordered to re-deploy to Iraq in January of 2005. Then the Army officially denied his C.O. claim in November 2004. Facing his second deployment, and a crisis of conscience, Wilkerson fled Army in December of 2004. Wilkerson decided to go AWOL only after having been denied Conscientious Objector status by the military.

Wilkerson’s Camp Casey announcement continued, “I am not willing to kill, or be killed, or do anything else I consider morally wrong, for reasons I don’t believe in, and now today, I am turning myself in to face the consequences of my actions..I am scared, but I go with peace in my heart and hope for the future- not only my future, but the country’s future as well…I’m turning myself in with my head held high knowing what I did was right.”

Since surrendering at Ft. Hood in August Spc. Wilkerson has been expecting a possible court martial. Under a pretrial agreement with military prosecution, Wilkerson pled guilty to desertion and missing a troop movement in exchange for a sentence of up to 10 months.

He was sentenced at Ft. Hood, Texas on February 22 to seven months in a military brig and a bad conduct discharge. Mark has expressed that he looks forward to “getting on with his life.”

Courage to Resist would like to express our gratitude to Spc. Mark Wilkerson for his brave and courageous stand in following his conscience and opposing his participation in war.

Mark’s own website may be updated during his time in the brig as well: