I am the child of an air force family and my childhood was spent in numerous countries. When my parents retired to San Francisco I began college at USF. After two years of school and ROTC, I took a year off to backpack through Europe and Asia. I enrolled at UC Berkeley in 1964, continuing with ROTC to ensure my student deferment.
By graduation in 1967 I had become convinced that the Vietnam War was unjust. When I wrote to the Army about applying for Conscientious Objector Status, I was advised to report for duty first.
After six months in the Army, my application for CO status was denied and I was told that I would be going to Vietnam. I refused to draw my weapon and was ordered court-martialed. On Labour Day 1970 I was able to escape and cross into Canada. Initially I ran a flying school in Whitehorse and later got a job flying floatplanes in Prince Rupert and then Vancouver.
During President Ford’s Clemency Program in 1975, I went to Fort Dix seeking the “Undesirable Discharge” offered to deserters who turned themselves in. The Army decided that I wasn’t eligible and court-martial proceedings were resumed. With help from the ACLU, I was released and two years later a Federal Court ordered the Army to discharge me Honourably as a Conscientious Objector.
I remained in Vancouver and continued to work as a pilot, moving from floats to the Mallard Flying Boat to the Dash-7 and Dash-8, and then spent 13 years flying the BAe-146 for Air Canada Jazz, retiring in 2002. I still live in Vancouver with my wife Lynn and two daughters.
In 1970 Canada generously granted me sanctuary. It is heartbreaking for me to watch now as Canada denies sanctuary to Iraq War Resisters.