Supporters rally; James sentenced to six months in stockade and bad conduct discharge

July 17, 2008

James Burmeister was serving in Baghdad when his humvee was caught in an IED explosion and he was hit in the face with shrapnel. Suffering from the physical and emotional wounds resulting from his injury, and his experiences working with “bait and kill” teams in Iraq, James went to Canada and was AWOL until earlier this year when he decided to return to the U.S., turn himself in, and move on with his life.

James and supporters hoped that the military would offer him an “other than honorable discharge in lieu of court martial”—especially in consideration of his injuries suffered in Iraq. James believes that he is suffering from traumatic brain injury, which would explain his reoccurring seizures. However, he has found real medical treatment an impossible maze to navigate—the military instead offers him various anti-psychotic drug cocktails.


On June 21, Helen Burmeister (photo above) traveled from Oregon to lead local Veterans for Peace members and other supporters in a rally for the freedom on her son James at the gates of Fort Knox, Kentucky. However, hopes for a quick discharge—and real medical help—were dashed when the Army court martialed James yesterday for AWOL and desertion.

James was sentenced to six months at the Fort Knox Regional Confinement Facility and a bad conduct discharge. The PFC James Burmeister Support Campaign can be reached at

Write to James in the stockade!

James Burmeister
Box A
Fort Knox, KY 40121