Jerry Texiero, 65, of Tarpon Springs, Fla., refused orders to deploy to Vietnam in July 1965. His decision was based on his opposition to U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

For the next four decades, Texiero lived peacefully, spending the last twenty years in Tarpon Springs, Fla. There he ran a business that dealt in classic cars and more recently sold boats at a shipyard. Texiero had been placed on probation for a larceny conviction which, he claims, arose from the corrupt dealings of a partner in the classic car business. (Texiero later scrupulously repaid customers for their losses).

In August 2005, a Marine AWOL apprehension unit working in the Pentagon discovered Texiero’s current status when it used FBI files to match personal data from his Florida conviction with his military file. He was arrested as an AWOL by local police on August 14 and placed in solitary confinement in Florida’s Pinellas County jail.

On Dec. 14, 2005 Texiero was sent to the Marine brig at Camp LeJeune, N.C. Marine officials have told Texiero’s supporters that it is weighing a court martial for desertion, which could result in a five year prison sentence.

Citizen Soldier Legal Director Tod Ensign has written Lejeune Commanding General Dickinson asking; “Why are scarce Marine resources being squandered on the prosecution of a senior citizen who’s only ‘crime’ is refusing to fight a war that today is universally discredited? Or is the Corps warning Marines in Iraq that they will pursue deserters to the grave?”

Concerned citizens may want to support Texiero by letting members of Congress know about this case and by directly protesting to either: Base Commander Major General Robert Dickinson, or Colonel Wunder, Staff Judge Advocate, at (910) 451-1113 (base locator) or write to either at: PSC Box 2004, Camp LeJeune, N C 28542

Vietnam veterans and others plan to organize lawful protests in support of Texiero and all resisters on or near Camp LeJeune in the next few weeks.

More info: Tod Ensign, Citizen Soldier (212) 679-2250