By Will Hart
I am outraged. I am discouraged. I am appalled and I am heartbroken.
My story: In 1967 I was on board the USS Intrepid in the Tonkin Gulf. On Oct. 23 of that year I jumped ship in Japan along with three other sailors. We made a film in which we declared our opposition to the war in Vietnam, which was aired at a press conference as we were living underground.
Within weeks we exited Japan by stowing away aboard the passenger liner Baikal and landed in Russia. Soon we were in Moscow repeating our stand on live TV. We were called the Intrepid 4. I learned much about the Russian people and just how much they had lost fighting against the Germans in World War II, 20 million stalwart citizens to be exact.
I found the people warm, smart, compassionate and deeply wounded by that war. We flew to Sweden within months and applied for humanitarian asylum. I lived there for 31/2 years then returned to the US in 1971. The war was still being waged. I was determined to continue to fight against it.
However, I was arrested and incarcerated in a military prison and put in solitary confinement. That was 50 years ago and I still believed in my country and thought we, (my post-WWII generation), could end the war and get the nation on the right course. But that idealism was misplaced and delusional.