FORT KNOX — Pvt. Thomas Tuck of Cleveland, a black anti-war GI at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, was given a summary court-martial August 4 and sentenced to thirty days in the stockade at hard labor. His offense was that he refused to pick up a gun twice.
Tuck was notified of the court-martial the day before the trial. At the trial he was told that he would not be permitted a civilian lawyer. The Cleveland Draft Resistance Union has hired New York lawyer Conrad Lynn, who has filed notice of an appeal on this basis. The question is: does a soldier have a right to due process of law?
There is a deeper question involved. Tuck has organized a group of 12 anti-war black soldiers called “The Dirty Dozen.” Ten of them are from Cleveland. They are arguing against the war and trying to organize more anti-war feeling at Ft. Knox. The question is: do soldiers have the right to speak freely and organize?
Tom Tuck was inducted against his will July 3. He took the step forward but did not take the oath. He feels that a person should not be forced to perform the duties and responsibilities of a citizen, such as serve in the Army, without having the rights and freedoms of a citizen. He believes these are denied to black people in this country.
When he arrived at Ft. Knox he immediately began meeting with other troops, secretly and then openly. Since then, he has been harassed by the Army.
His mail has been opened and once, shortly after he refused to pick up a gun,- he was locked in the stockade without a trial for 15 minutes and told by the jailers that they would be seeing him soon. Other members of the Dirty Dozen have been given extra work details.
Tuck’s address is Delta Company, 8th Battalion, 3d Training Brigade, Ft. Knox, Kentucky.