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Conscientious objection is a time-honored part of military service. After reading about its history a bit, I decided we needed a closer look from the only people who can tell it right from the horse’s mouth: objectors themselves. Here, I chat with three of them, all with different backgrounds, but one overwhelming consensus among them: military service was unacceptable to their conscience. Here, we find out a few clues why.
Clifton Hicks enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of seventeen and served as an M1 Abrams tank crewman with C Troop, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division in Iraq 2003-2004. In 2005 he was honorably discharged as a conscientious objector. He went on to earn a degree in anthropology from Appalachian State University and currently works as a musician and music teacher.
Rosa del Duca is a writer and musician. She grew up a tomboy in rural Montana, where she joined the Army National Guard when she was seventeen. During her six-year contract, she became not only a conscientious objector, but a feminist and unlikely rebel. That tumultuous time is the focus of her memoir, Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War, forthcoming from Ooligan Press in May, 2019, and her companion podcast, Breaking Cadence: Insights From a Modern-Day Conscientious Objector.
Jorge Javier (JJ) Rodriguez is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where his time spent as a cadet solidified his stance as a conscientious objector. He is now stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, where he is going through the process of the Army’s conscientious objector program. For his full bio and a better look at his situation, click here.
Ramon Mejia enlisted in the Marine Corps out of economic necessity. He served in Supply Ops. and participated in the initial invasion of and deployment to Dhi Qar Province, Iraq in 2003. As a result of his experience in Iraq, he converted to Islam in 2008. He has been an active organizer in countering local manifestations of hate and racism by neo-Nazis and paramilitary groups in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Ramon is a Social Studies teacher and one of the founding organizers of #VetsVsHate, a national veteran grassroots initiative pushing back against racism and bigotry. He was recently recognized as part of the ‘MPower 100–Muslim Social Justice Leaders Building Power Across the United States.
GI Rights Hotline – 18774474487
Quakers House of Fayetteville – 919-663-7122
Department of Defense Office of Inspector General – 800-424-9098
Center on Conscience and War – 1-800-379-2679
Code Pink – 202-248-2093
Vets For Peace – 314-725-6005
About Face (Veterans against the war) – 929-430-4988
Courage to Resist – 510-488-3559
The Objector Church – 510-488-3559
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A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh, Will Ahrens, Gage Counts, Fahim Shirazee, James Higgins, and James O’Barr. Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work. Thank you so much!!!
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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and BT Hampton
Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks. Clifton’s Bandcamp page; Clifton’s Patreon page
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.