Captain Howard Levy
and raised in Brookland. Levy was a hard worker in High School and in College
who went on to NY University medical school. He was from a Jewish family.
He began residency at Bellevue and saw a side of life I don't think he
had personally expected to see. And he began to be personally involved
in what was happening with the American People. Levy was able to finish
his medical studies then he was required to serve in the armed forces.
He reported to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, July 1965. He was experiencing
the difference between a civilian lifestyle and a military life style.
Which came as a shook to him personally. Since he was a doctor he was immediately
gave the rank of Captain. Levy knew right away that he had nothing
in common with the other career military officers and did not have much
of a social life with them. Instead he did a lot of civil rights movement
campaigning such as to allow the blacks to vote this however did not break
any rules but did not set well with other officers. Levy did not like the
idea of Vietnam at first only let his opinion known to those on the hospital
staff but then went further and started to make statements and argue his
statements to other Army officers and enlisted men. Because of his involvement
in the Civil movement and his opposition of the war in Vietnam he was labeled
a surcurity risk by others. Levy's commanding officer was told to keep
a eye out on his activities to make sure he was doing nothing damaging.
An officer went so far as to accuse Levy of being a communist and a pinko.
No charges of these ever were proved. At one point and time there
were to be some visitors the Green Berets were going to go to Fort Jackson
to participate in a five day learning course so when they went to Vietnam
they would be prepared. Levy was opposed to training the Green Berets he
dint believe it was possible to train a soldier in dermatology for five
days, He said it may do more harm than good. Then the other the strongest
one was that Levy did not want to do anything to the United States military
involvement in Vietnam. He said something to this fact that training a
Green Berets to participate in the was actively was like actually participating
himself. About this time a new commanding officer named Henry F. Fancy
was looking into Levy's case and then formally ordered Levy to train the
young soldiers who were on their way to Vietnam. Levy however ignored this
order and well didn't hear anything again about it for two months. Then
just before Christmas the commander decided that there needed to be a punishment
used for offenses not harsh enough for a court-martial. Then all
of a sudden Colonel Fancy had a sudden change of heart and decided for
reasons not fully known today that he would bring Levy before a General
court-martial. May I add this is the most serious Court Martial that
can be convened. Levy was then charged with refusing to obey the order
to train the young Green Berets, Promoting disloyalty and disaffection
among members of the Army , intending to impair the loyalty morale and
discipline of soldiers he encountered. prejudicing good order and discipline
in the armed forces and conduct unbecoming of an officer.
court-martial began on May 10, 1967 at Fort Jackson. Levy's Defense was
to be handled by an civilian lawyer named Charles Morgan. Who had been
provided for him by an American Civil Liberties Union.
argued to have the whole case thrown out of the courts at first. His argument
was that they were prosecuting a man for saying it is wrong for the US
to be in Vietnam which congress men had said and others why not him. The
Army said that Levy was pushing others soldiers to go his direction therefore
it really was not freedom of speech because he had the rank and the power
to make others thing he was right. Therefore the courts ruled in the Army's
favor. During the trail it came known that Levy had asked for a discharge
from the Army because he did not believe in what was going on several chaplains
and psychiatrist had all recommended that Levy be released from duty But
Colonel Fancy turned down Levy's request.
the colonel had finished his testimony several enlisted men and ten Green
Berets testified that Levy had tried to convert them. A letter that Levy
had written to a sergeant in Vietnam said that they should not be in Vietnam
they should be in America fighting for the Civil rights movement after
the letter had been introduced the prosecution rested its case. Morgan
then brought witness to the stand that basically said he was not unloyal
to the Army just believed different. Then they went on to see if a soldier
had the right to disobey a direct order if they found it immorally illegal.
Some testified that if the Armed forces went based on a immoral issue with
everyone it would not be right they are suppose to be disciplined individuals.
Several Doctors took the stand including the famous Dr. Spock he testified
that it is actually against medical ethics for Levy to have trained the
Green Berets the Green Berets were first and foremost soldiers under the
control of military authorities. And did not wish to oblige to abide by
the medical ethics but only by the wishes of their military and political
superiors. And that therefore if Levy did train them he would go against
the Hippocratic oath that doctors take. And the defense said that there
was no proof that anything that Levy said made any of the soldiers unloyal
to the Army. And there was no proof that this was the case if he had. When
the verdict came back they had all reached an agreement finding Levy Guilty
and sentenced to three years of hard labor. Levy began his sentence only
one month before he was scheduled to be discharged. This was June 3, 1967.
He appealed his case but a decision in his case was never met. He was released
from prison in August of 1969 he had been in prison for just over two years.
The war was now over and many questions have been left unanswered. Everyone
has their own beliefs sometimes we seem to get punished for having those
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