USA: Marine Corps Reservists turns conscientious objector


On 1 April, US Marine Corps Reservist Stephen Funk, 20, turned himself in to the military authorities at the San Jose Reserve Unit. Stephen Funk, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 2002, became increasingly uneasy when he was trained in the use of weapons and how to kill with a bayonet. "I refuse to kill," says Funk. "It is scary to confront the military, because the military teaches you to submit to orders even when you object. I may not be a hero, but I know that it takes courage to disobey. I know that it demands courage to say 'no' in the face of coercion." According to Stephen Funk's attorney Stephen Collier, Funk went on unauthorised absence (UA) earlier this year, and he failed to report when his San Jose-based Marine reserve unit was called to active duty in mid-February. But Funk has always intended to turn himself in. On 1 April, Stephen Funk went to the barracks, accompanied by peace activists and his mother, and his conscientious objection papers in his hands. Until authorities decide his punishment, Funk will be allowed to go home at the end of each day, provided he returns each morning to the Marine Corps reserve center on Mission Street in San Jose. He faces imprisonment of up to two years for unauthorised absence, but his attorney said they are hoping he will have to serve only a month or so of restricted duty. His application for discharge as conscientious objector will be handled separately.

According to the US based GI Rights Hotline, there are many GIs with concerns about the war. Calls have doubled since 2002, with 3,582 calls reported in January, and 3,118 in February 2003.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Stephen Funk. Stephen Funk
c/o Stephen Collier
PO Box 423240
San Francisco, CA 94142

War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the US authorities, and US embassies abroad, demanding the immediate discharge of Stephen Funk as a conscientious objector.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center
Commanding Officer
995 E Mission Street
San Jose, CA 95112-1699
tel +1 408 294 7564

George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
tel +1 202 456 1414
fax +1 202 456 2461
email (to send a protest email to George W. Bush, go to

Donald H. Rumsfield
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Addresses of US embassies world-wide can be found at