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Private Eddie Slovik
Slovik one of five children. He grew up in a poor neighborhood in Michigan. Like many other people during that time it was the 1930s and the depression was still going. He began to steal things at the age of 11. His father not really on a steady employment and frequently out of work. So food and other things were very scarce. He stole food quite a bit but no one ever caught him at it. When he turned 12 he was caught breaking into a factory with several of his friends and placed on probation for a year. At 15 years old he quit school to start earning his own living. At 17 he was charged with having cheated the drugstore he worked at out of some money and with stealing a lot of items from the store. He was then sentenced to six months up to ten years confinement and then sent to a state reform school. After Nine months of his sentence he was paroled and placed on probation. A year after he was released Slavik and his friends stole a car and then wrecked it. Slovik at that time escaped arrest but turned himself in the next morning. He was then sentenced to 2 to 8 years in a state reformatory. The world war two began while Slovik was in custody when Slovik was released April of 1942 The united states had been bombed at pearl harbor and many other difficulties were taking place. A lot of the men were not being drafted because of his record he was considered unfit. He then met a cripple girl and was five years older than himself. He fell in love with her immediately and they married in November of 1942. The first year for him was a great one he had a good job and was keeping out of trouble. They had saved up and bought a car and found out they were going to have a baby they were both very happy. November 7, 1942 The day of his first anniversary Slovik received notice that he may be changed to a 1-A instead of a 4-f 1-A meaning he would be qualified to be drafted and the 4-F being he wasn't. The reason for that change was that they had been fighting for almost 2 years and they were short handed and needed more soldiers. And on December 22 1943 Slovik received a letter that he had been selected. On January 24, 1944 Slovik became one of the 16,000,000 who were to serve in WW two. Slovik was not happy about any of this he felt as if they were going to draft him they should of done so as soon as he got out of prison not when he had his family and finally a good job. After a month of being in the forces he learnt that his wife had miscarried and then went to Red Cross to try and get a Hardship release they quickly denied it. After Slovik finished basic training at Camp Wolters Texas he went on to the battlefields of France. Him and other troops dropped off to go find there unit were getting there first glimpse of war dead bodies and animals were lying around as they walked throughout the forest areas. But before they could reach there destination they were captured in a bunch of artillery fire and were forced to abandon their trucks. Nine of the others were able to make it to their unit on foot but Slovik and another troop were unable to find the others or the unit they had been assigned too. They linked up with Canadian Tanks Corps and started to fight with them for the next month in a half. They had sent a letter to their division telling that they had gotten lost and were still trying to make their way back to their assigned unit. They did catch up with their unit in Elsenborn Belgium.
Slovik did not want to be in the Army and had let it be known from the very beginning he missed his wife very much and wrote her about 2 letters a day on average. He didn't want to go into combat because he didn't want to be killed he just wanted to get back to his wife in Detroit. When the two of them Slovik and Tankey met up with their company commander Slovik told him he was not intending to fight. And turned and started to walk away. Tankey told him that he shouldn't do that he should come back because he could be charged with desertion. Slovik still refused. 

The next day Slovik turned himself into the Military police and handed them the following confession:
I, Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik #36896415 confess to the desertion of the United States Army. At the time of my desertion we were in Albuff in France.... They were shelling the town, and we were told to dig in for the night. The following morning they shelled us again. I was so scared nerves and trembling that at the time the other Replacements moved out and I could not move.... I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I would run away. He said there was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again and I'll run away again if I have to go out their.
(he had signed it)
Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik
 
Slovik had made his choice. He would rather go back to a jail house than into combat. He was confined in the Army stockade at Rocherath, Belgium. A little time later he was brought in front of a court-martial committee in Germany. He was charged with two accounts of desertion to avoid hazardous duty. Slovik had three choices one to testify under oath, two to testify with an unsworn statement or three remain silent. He chose to remain silent. He had pleaded not guilty and the court-martial itself only took one hour and forty minutes the board found him guilty. The sentence was To be dishonorably discharged from the Army, forfeit all pay and allowances due to him and to be shot to death with musketry. The sentence seemed harsh although no one was worried because there was not an account of anyone going through with an execution because of desertion. There had although been similar sentences but none had been carried out. Slovik's case was seeming to be ongoing with a lot of people saying go on with the execution He wrote General Dwight Eisenhower and basically pleaded his life explaining his situation over again. It did not help General Dwight Eisenhower confirmed and was the last person to need to review it he said that Eddie Slovik should be sentenced to death. Eddie Slovik was to die away from French civilians so he was brought to St. Marie aux Mines twenty miles away from the German border where he was to face a firing squad. He spent the last of his hours with a Chaplain and reading letters that had been saved for him from his wife. Then a military officer came to him and said Take it easy on us and on yourself. Slovik then replied I am ok Then added something to the fact that they aren't shooting me because of desertion on the United States Army they are shooting me for the bread I stole when I was twelve. He was led the next morning to a post that had been placed there just for him. A black hood was placed over his head and the firing squad marched out into the garden. Twelve Young soldiers were facing him there rifles aimed at him then the command FIRE came they all fired in unison and Slovik's head slumped forward. Out of the 40,000 soldiers who were tried for desertion during World War two forty nine which were actually sentenced to death fro their crimes. Slovik the man who just wanted to go home so much that he was trying to live and defied the Armies rules thinking he would be safe in the Prisons. Was the only Man who actually died. And the first person to be executed by the Army since the Civil war. Two War and over 37 years he is still the first and no one else has become the second. His wife died only a few days before Congress had the opportunity to over look the case to see if she would of got life insurance benefits and other things she thought was due to her.
 
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