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JANUARY 9, 1967. Senator Sam J. ERVIN, Jr., U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: Enclosed is a copy of a news article reference some recent actions taken by yourself. Accept my sincere thanks!
The subject matter, of course, is only one of a number of things becoming more and more irksome in the military service.
Never think for a moment that we older people in the military are unaware oi unappreciative of efforts like yours on our behalf. Sometime, if you should ever be visiting an area where I am assigned I'd like to sit down and discuss with you some of my own feelings concerning the peculiar position of the career soldier in our present day society.
Being a World War II combat veteran, my own inclinations, at present, are to hang it up and retire to a normal civilian-orientated life.
Please accept my letter as an expression of interest and appreciation re your comments. While not an anonymous letter writer, be advised that I have absolutely no desire to become identified as an individual (in the military) who would write to a government official. However, I believe it is very important that you be aware that efforts in behalf of the military, at the "little man” level certainly do not go without notice. Most pressures brought to bear are not the kind provable in definitive form. Will close here before I expand. Again thank you for your concern. Respectfully,
M. Sgt. USAF.
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GA. I am very interested in the passage of Legislation restricting the use of force and coercion in Military Installations during charity drives and savings bond sales.
I encountered such force and coercion at Keesler AFB, Miss. during the United Fund Charity Drive and personally think this type action is unconstitutional. Thank you for your efforts in correcting this problem.
JANUARY 8, 1967. DEAR SIR: Congress should act on the give away programs which is done against our will. In the Air Force they give us detail or K.P.at Keesler if we didn't give or buy bonds. (UGF) I also gave to United Fund but I ended up with KP or detail because I didn't give a fair share!
At the time I didn't get very much and the wheels knew it! I paid out more than came in!
Really it is no one's business what I give and everything is on an IBM card including name and where I work. Where will it end? I give but not because someone tells me to! Also I seal it up. The USO places are really poor for all the money GI's give.
AVONDALE ESTATES, GA., January 7, 1967. Re U.S. savings bonds investigation. Senator Sam J. ERVIN, Jr. U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: I have today read in the Atlanta Journal where your subcommittee is investigating complaints of servicemen that coercion is being used against them to force purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds. Recommend your efforts and I hope that positive steps will be taken to end this.
I know from experience in the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant from 1962–1965, stationed at Hancock Field and Stewart Air Force Base, New York, that coercion to buy U.S. Savings Bonds is not the exception but the rule, and I believe that you will find that the reason for this comes from the top, from the commander and I assume, all the way to the Pentagon. Evidently some administrative
bureaucracy has set goals for the purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds within the Defense Department and these goals extend to the lowest department and organizational level, throughout the world. · I saw proud officers with over 20 years service, who had served with distinction ind bravery, forced to buy bonds themselves and in turn were forced to coerce heir men to buy. Sometimes you consider what the Generals think are important n a military unit. Sure, it is patriotic to invest in your country but to force this: pon men will destroy their patriotism. It must be stopped! Some of the men annot even afford to buy Bonds.
Senator Ervin, I'm sure that you and your colleagues have the power to stop his flagrant abuse of constitutional rights. I believe that all goals for the purchase If U.S. Savings Bonds should be eliminated within the Defense Department.
Then you see a percentage of over 80% participation such as the Army has, you now there has been wholesale coercion. Just because a serviceman does not buy
bond, this does not mean he is unpatriotic. Tell the Defense Department that hey are not fooling anybody but themselves when they push participation this
I was also pleased to read your comment to the Pentagon's request for the names of persons who had complained—“The risk of reprisal is not worth such in exercise in futility." How true that statement is, sir, and I'm glad that Senators realize this. Good luck!
OVERLAND, Mo., January 7, 1967. DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: Thank God for men like you that are not afraid to peak out against the Military establishment that is and has threatened our servsemen with various reprisals if they do not buy savings bonds. In a long converation with my son while home on Christmas leave from his military base at Fort Dix, New Jersery, he related to me some of the punishment given to some oys who did not sign up for savings bonds, such as, as many as 150 to 200 puships, extra K.P. duty-sometimes 48 hours without rest in one K.P. duty stretch-, demerits of all kinds for the least little infraction of their strict rules. I don't mean to ramble in this letter but would like to give you my son's case. He received is degree from the University of Missouri last June and went to work immeditely after graduation until being drafted first of October. He worked 312 months fore induction and bought eight $50 savings bonds, so you see he is not against avings bonds or, as far as that goes, in saving money, period. My son had to corrow money from the U. of Mo., the Methodist Church, and the government ad worked part-time plus what help we could give him to get through school. le could not help a lot for we have two daughters in college, also, and are a mily of a limited income. My son is receiving about $90 per month before taxes are taken out, plus uying for his GI insurance, plus $10 a month to College Life Insurance Company Indianapolis, Indiana, an insurance program he has had since the beginning his senior year in college and felt he had too much invested in it to stop it, lus he pays $20 a month on his loan to the church, plus $20 a month on his loan b) the U. of Mo. So, Sir, you can see, by the time they take out the $6 a month hat his Sergeant made him sign up for bonds, leaves him practically nothing. ther than being a life-long Democrat, I don't have any pull or connections or 'he power to do anything about these wrongs that are being done to our serviceLen, but I can and will say this: I will not vote Republican, but I sure as H.-ill not vote for Johnson again.
I certainly would sign my name to this letter if I did not think that in some Tay it might get into the hands of some military official and could jeopardize ny son's career in the Army. In a few more weeks he will be going to officers school, and I do know that when and if he receives his commission and his income increases, he will not have to be harassed or coerced into buying savings bonds
or he, as you and I, is a very patriotic young American, plus being very thrifty and a good manager.
May I suggest, Senator Ervin, a public statement by you on the Senate floor Ithat this practice by the military cease at once, or there could be a bill introduced I that a serviceman making $90 or less per month not be permitted to buy savings | bonds by payroll deductions. I believe that your fellow colleagues in the House
and Senate that were given the knowledge by you what is taking place in the various branches of the services about this condition, would certainly join you in passing such legislation as this. May I again commend you for your work as a great Senator and Democrat, and may your political life be long and to the good of the average, patriotic American citizen.
JA NUARY 10, 1967. Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr. U.S. Senate, The Capitol, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: Several days ago, I saw a newspaper article which was rather vague about a bill you are introducing to take some of the heat off of our service men in this matter of soliciting for certain community organizations on military posts. Congratulations. I have watched this type of solicitation for twentyfive years. In fact, since I was in service myself.
It has always been my thinking that if they are going to solicit from service men in communities where a service man does not reside, he should at least be given the option to send whatever donation he wishes to make to his home town. After all, what interest does a service man have for a community where the Armed Forces have sent him other than to get the training that he is receiving. The item that I read was not too clear but nevertheless, it appeared to me that you were trying to do something and for this, I commend you. With kindest personal regards,
JA NUARY 13, 1967. Senator Sam J. ERVIN, Jr., Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: I read with pleasure an article in the Atlanta Journal about a bill you have introduced to protect government employees and service men from being coerced into so-called “voluntary” contributions. This has been desperately needed for some time. More power to you.
I know of several instances—one concerning my own son--and from others in the service, where men have been disciplined and threatened for not contributing to "voluntary” contributions.
I've been told that commissioned officers pass the word down that their units are expected to contribute one hundred per cent. That officers place bets on whose unit will be the first with one hundred per cent in contributions.
I read with sickness and disgust about our Marines out on patrol and in fox holes who were given an "opportunity” to invest in bonds. It seems it isn't enough that they lay their lives on the line in this war-but that they must help finance it, too.
A service man returned home from France after we were "kicked out” said that on their last pay day there, there was a line of French representatives from French charities waiting for contributions, and it was “suggested” that our service men contribute “to show good will to the French.”
I know that we have a law against reprisals to service men who report these things. I'm very happy to read you stated that risk of reprisal is “not worth such an exercise in futility”.
I've read article after article about men leaving the service after completing the time for which they signed up-refusing re-enlistment-and what a cost it is to retrain men to replace them. I don't wonder, and can't understand why the government wonders, why this is so. A young man who is brought up to love his country, and goes into a service to serve Her, soon learns what it takes to gain promotions, to escape rigid discipline by making contributions to all “voluntary” collections, realizing he needs to stay on the "good side”. The ordinary discipline of service life is something needed, and some, like my son, enjoy it, but these extra disciplinary measures concerning “voluntary” contributing to not only American charities, but foreign ones also, is just too much. The ordinary competition of service life should be enough, without competition in how much and whether contributions are made, in gaining promotions and trying to get ahead in the chosen service. More power to you, sir, and your committee.
EAST LEBANON, MAINE, January 11, 1967. Senator MARGARET CHASE SMITH, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR SMITH: Many reports of coercion in regard to the buying of U.S. Savings bonds and charitable donations have been forwarded to the Senate Constitutional Rights subcommittee by armed forces personnel. I feel that this is a most serious problem in the armed forces and perhaps in other government agencies that should be of immediate concern to the Congress. Most of the men in the Army today I feel are happy to support their nation not only by their tour of service but by buying bonds if it's necessary. However, the methods by which bonds are sold should be a personal matter left up to the conscience of the individual and of course this applies to charitable donations.
My interest in writing this letter is to bring this important matter to your attention and to ask you to look into the problem.
JANUARY 13, 1967. Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr., Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
MY DEAR SENATOR: I read with much appreciation your public statement concerning the pressuring of both military and civil personnel of the federal government to buy savings bonds and to contribute to charity. It is my hope that you will succeed in getting legislation prohibiting this most unfair conduct. During my incumbency in public office, I prohibited such conduct towards personnel under my jurisdiction. Although I was criticized by these professional patriots and sob-sisters, I stuck by my guns. I have been both a federal and a state officer and had the opportunity of observing just what you referred to in your public statement.
One of the most shameful examples of this thing happened in 1917 at Ft. Monroe, Virginia. Enlisted men were herded into a large mess hall and urged to buy Liberty Bonds. Most of these men were receiving only $30 a month. They were told that they were not being ordered to buy these bonds but that it was their patriotic duty to do so and to put the last ounce of pressure upon them, they were told that they must sign a statement to that effect, if they refused to buy a bond. You find these little crusading busybodies in both the military and civil service. Some of the worst were in the military service.
Since communicating with you last, I have retired from public service after twenty-five years and am now practicing law in a very leisurely way. Wising you success with your proposed legislation, I am,
JANUARY 14, 1967. Hon. Senator Sam J. ERVIN, U.S. Senate.
DEAR SENATOR: In reference to the attached clipping, it is heartwarming indeed to realize that at long last someone is on our side.
On behalf of many hundreds of thousands of servicemen I would like to say thank you, thank you, thank you and God bless you. Yours very truly,
COMMITTEE PROBES BOND DRIVE COERCION
(By John Chadwick) WASHINGTON.—The files of the Senate Constitutional Rights subcommittees are bulging with complaints from servicemen and federal employes that they are coerced into buying savings bonds and making charitable contributions.
Letters from servicemen tell of being denied promotion and even of being threatened with shipment to Vietnam if they fail to buy bonds.
The subcommittee also has received reports of Marine sergeants being sent into the foxholes in Vietnam to sign up fighting men for bond purchases.
Sen. Sam J. Ervin, Jr., S-N.C., subcommittee chairman, has introduced a bill that would, among other things, protect government employes against any form of compulsion to buy bonds or contribute to charity.
DE In a recent letter to Thomas D. Morris, assistant secretary of defense for manpower. Ervin wrote: “It is becoming glaringly apparent that legislation is needed to protect servicemen as much-or more so- -as it is to protect civilian personnel." }
Morris said the Defense Department not only does not authorize coercion of civilian and military personnel to buy savings bonds or contribute to charitable campaigns but has not and will not condone such coercion.
Ervin replied “the numerous complaints from civilian and military personnel throughout the world” indicate that the mere continuance of the Pentagon's support of established grievance procedures is insufficient.
The senator declined to submit to the Pentagon for investigation the names of persons who had complained to the subcommittee. “The risk of reprisals is not a worth such an exercise in futility,” Ervin wrote.
The senator's letter said that a Marine general has been quoted as saying that ** his men in charge of the bond drive in Vietnam were not deterred from achieving the unit goal.”
"They went to forward positions and interviewed Marines in fighting holes and kept track of the patrols so that every individual had an opportunity to bear how he could invest his money in a worthwhile savings program,” he quoted the general as saying.
Ervin added: “I find this story grotesque.”
The Treasury Department said 1,427,602 servicemen were enrolled in payroll savings plans—where bonds are automatically purchased and the price is deducted from pay—as of last Sept. 30.
It said the percentage of those enrolled, compared with total strength, varied widely among the services. As of Sept. 30, the Army had 84 percent enrollment with 765,133 active par
DE ticipants followed by the Air Force with 45.3 percent or 392,542 participants.
The Navy and Marine Corps combined had 27.2 per cent participation, the department said, with 201,637 Navy personnel and 68,290 Marines taking part.
Of federal, civilian employes, 73.8 per cent or 1,687,129 persons were enrolled in the payroll savings program as of Sept. 30, the department added.
During the first nine months of 1966, the department said, $648.1 million in bonds were bought by federal employes both civilian and military under payroll: savings. Civilians bought $445.2 million and the military $202.9 million.
JANUARY 8, 1967.
DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: It was with a great deal of interest that I read a front tu page article in The Atlanta Journal, Jan. 7, 1967 of military and civilian personnel being coerced into buying bonds and making charitable” contributions.
Further, I admire you for your refusal to submit to the Pentagon the names of o persons who had complained to your sub-committee.
As a civilian employee of the - Army Depot the same sort of thing happened to me in connection with purchasing bonds; rarely a week goes by when an envelope is not passed to collect funds with which to purchase something for someone who is ill, leaving by retirement, or promoted; and the so-called “established grievance procedures” are so much white-wash.
The bond approach was made on the basis that the Chief of the Division wanted t 100% of those in the division purchasing bonds. No statement was made, as to what would happen if one refused; however, it isn't difficult to imagine. I feel I'm capable of deciding whether I do or do not wish bond deductions without it having been decided for me and in view of the salary I receive, even the small in amount deducted for bonds makes a difference to me.
In writing this, I trust that it and my name will not be made available either to lo the Pentagon or to the Civil Service Commission for as the paper quotes you “The risk of reprisals is not worth such an exercise in futility”.
With kindest regards, I am,