GIs Take Sanctuary


Fifth Estate # 86, August 21-September 3, 1969

Three Michigan men are among a group of 18 GIs who have sought sanctuary in a Honolulu church because of their opposition to the war in Vietnam. They are Matthew Biggerstaff of Westland, Arthur Parker of Holland and Daniel Overstreet of Garden City.

The scene began when Airman Louis Parry came to the Church of the Crossroads which offers refuge to military asylum. By August 15 the other 17 men, from all branches of the service had joined him.

Biggerstaff flew from San Francisco to join the group after reading about the protest. “I’ll probably go to prison,” he said.

The men are being cared for by members of local draft resistance groups. Other people in the community have donated bedding, clothing, and food for the GIs.

All are absent without leave (AWOL) from their units and are aware that after 30 days on the AWOL list the man becomes a deserter. The military has refused comment except to say that military law will be enforced.

“I’m ready to take the consequences,” said Army Specialist Alan Porter. “I have to be here with the others.”