Skip to comments.Judge weighing National Guardsman's request to leave
Posted on 11/10/2005 7:49:14 PM PST by No Longer Free State
A member of the Texas Army National Guard stationed at Fort Sam Houston who wants to be discharged as a conscientious objector stopped using military benefits after finding out her unit got orders for active duty, according to her lawyer.
Austin attorney Beverly Reeves today also told U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia Katherine Jashinski had an epiphany that caused her to question the values with which she was raised. Jashinski, 22, now believes in protecting life and opposes war.
Jashinski, originally from Wautoma, Wisc., enlisted in April 2002 for six years, and is under orders to ship out to Fort Benning, Ga., on Saturday to train to be deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Her unit, the 111th Area Support Group in Austin, got its activation orders in April 2004 and deployed to Afghanistan in March.
She filed for a discharge as a conscientious objector in June 2004, shortly after learning her unit got activation orders. The Army kept her at Fort Sam while her discharge request was reviewed. It was turned down last month.
She is now asking Garcia to order the Army to keep her in San Antonio - close to friends and her lawyer - while the judge later rules whether the Army should discharge her. If the judge grants the temporary restraining order, he would have 10 days to rule on her discharge request.
During much of today's hearing, the judge focused on why Jashinski didn't seek the discharge for any of the two years she was in before learning her unit was activated.
Reeves replied that Jashinski went through a series of revelations that clashed with the values she was raised with and molded her new ideals. The period of transformation included a trip to the South Pacific, where she had discussions with people with divergent viewpoints about America's foreign policies.
Jashinski, Reeves said, also did not know what a conscientious objector was until someone asked her during training if she was one – after her unit was activated.
Reeves said Jashinski's sacrosanct lifestyle reflects her belief that life is valuable. Jashinski became a vegetarian, started riding a bicycle and changed her major from engineering to studies related to humanitarian work. She also stopped using military benefits to pay for school, and took time off from college to focus on her discharge request.
When did she stop using the benefits? Garcia asked.
Reeves said it was after learning her unit was activated, but could not provide an exact date.
Reeves, however, argued that Jashinski's fight for a discharge goes beyond her.
A decision for her could help "protect the right of individuals to be a conscientious objector, to be able to modify and change views as they are molded," Reeves said.
What happens if the judge rules for the Army? Garcia asked.
"If she's ultimately ordered to go, I will advise her to go, but if ordered to pick up a gun, she will not," Reeves said, adding that it could land Jashinski in a court-martial.
Capt. Rebecca E. Ausprung, a JAG officer with the Army's Litigation Division in Arlington, Va., told the judge that "what is at issue here today is bigger than Spc. Jashinski."
Jashinski's request, Ausprung said, is seeking a "drastic and extraordinary remedy" that interferes with the military's decision on how to maintain its forces.
If the judge grants Jashinski's request, "that opens the floodgates to other solders to come and challenge their deployments," Ausprung said.
"We are fighting a war on terror," Ausprung said. "The U.S. military has made a decision that Spc. Jashinski is necessary to fight that war."
Another article, same topic, same journalist:
Anti-War Soldier Is Going To Court
By Guillermo Contreras, Express-News Staff Writer
By the time the country observes Veterans Day on Friday, one local soldier opposed to war might know if she wins a battle to leave the military.
Spc. Katherine Jashinski, a member of the Texas Army National Guard stationed at Fort Sam Houston, will be in federal court this week seeking to stay in San Antonio until a judge decides whether the military should grant her a full discharge based on conscientious objector status.
Jashinski, 22, is under orders to ship out Saturday for Fort Benning, Ga., to prepare for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
For months, the native of Wautoma, Wis., has been seeking a discharge as a conscientious objector but has been denied. She has even told a military chaplain that she would rather go to prison than to war, court records show.
Today, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will take up her request for an order that would keep her in San Antonio until the judge later rules whether the military should let her go.
Her petition could be an uphill climb.
J.E. McNeil, executive director of the Center on Conscience & War in Washington, an inter-religious organization founded in 1940 to defend the rights of conscientious objectors, said discharge by conscientious objection is difficult to achieve, because the judges who rule on such petitions are limited to looking at items in the petitioner's file.
Jashinski, through her attorney, declined to be interviewed for this report.
According to her court file, Jashinski enlisted in April 2002 for six years because she was curious to know what being in the military was like and to help her pay for school at the University of Texas at Austin.
In letters to her superiors, she admits she did not apply for conscientious objection until she found out her unit, the 111th Area Support Group in Austin, was called up for duty in Afghanistan in mid-2004.
She explained that she did not know what a conscientious objector was until then and that her views about life and war had changed based on her life experiences, relationships and conversations with others, books she read and classes she took.
"At the time of my enlistment, I was very confused about religion and the existence of God, but I still carried the morals that were instilled in me as a child," Jashinski wrote in a six-page letter dated June 30, 2004. "Most relevantly, I believed that killing was wrong and that people should strive for peace, but there were certain circumstances that made war necessary.
"Over the past two years, I and my moral and ethical beliefs have changed. I still believe that killing is wrong, but I also believe that all war is morally wrong, and completely unnecessary."
Jashinski is attached to the Headquarters Company of the Special Troops Battalion at Fort Sam Houston. The 111th ASG, her unit, deployed to Afghanistan in March.
The Texas Army National Guard won't comment on her or any specific cases, but said it has had only one soldier granted conscientious objector status in recent memory.
Jashinski's file shows commanders denied her request for a discharge, citing that she filed only after learning her unit was called up.
One, however, recommended that she be granted conscientious objector status, but that she join her unit in Afghanistan in a noncombatant role. That commander later reversed herself.
Jashinski appealed to the Army's Conscientious Objector Review Board, which ruled last month that she "did not present clear and convincing evidence" to be discharged as a conscientious objector.
"If the petitioner is required to report to Fort Benning, where she understands she will be required to train with weapons, she will have to choose between following her conscience or participating in the military and may be subjected to trial by court-martial and to punishment for adhering to her conscientious and legally protected scruples," wrote Beverly Reeves, Jashinski's lawyer, in her petition to Judge Garcia.
The Center on Conscience & War's McNeil said that before 9-11 her group got one to two calls a month from soldiers who wanted to file for conscientious objector discharge. Now, she added, her organization fields such requests one to two times a day. Though the calls suggest more people want out, it seems fewer are being released.
McNeil said her group knows of 10 cases that have landed in federal court. Two cases lost; the others are pending.
"All they (judges) can do is determine whether or not the military had a rational basis for their decision. If they had a rational basis for their decision even if it's wrong she loses," McNeil said.
"This means that even if she's a sincere CO, if there is a rational basis for the military's decision, she's going to lose, and she's going to be deployed or she's going to choose to go to jail."
I've got an idea! Deploy her to Iraq, then jail her in Abu Grhaib.
Just give her a dishonorable discharge plus a little stockade time.
"Holy cow mama, they're using real bullets over there!"
I'm disgusted by any volunteer who takes our military pay and benefits, then tries to claim conscientious objector status to get out of deployment to a combat zone.
Recognition of conscientious objectors perhaps made sense during the draft, but not now with an all-volunteer force.
check her out on google.
She joined a co-op (liberal) in austin (uber liberal) - has been there at least since september of 2002. And how she's just 'becoming' liberal?
She's apparently one of the mushy heads that gets into college, meets up with liberal professors and friends and believes she's having a great, never had before 'revalation' about the evil US and the military industrial blah blah blah.
Kick her out, lock her up, and make her pay back any of the benefit's she's used -plus interest.
We heard a lot of this same stuff during the first Gulf war. These people signed up so they could get their education paid for but they "didn't think they would really have to go to war". A lot of parents acted even dumber than that! They wanted the money but didn't want to have to put the time in and fulfil their commitment.
you nailed it--gutless coward who signed up to bleed the taxpayer for college costs then wants out when shots are fired--
her lawyer.. figures.
As a retired Army chaplain, I do believe there is such a thing as a conscientious objector. I'm afraid that in this girl's case, I didn't see anything that convinced me her "conversion" was legitimate. It is only fair to question a CO application that just happens to come up right before a deployment.
I was looking for evidence in the article that she came from a religious background that is traditionally considered pacifist. I was looking for some truly pacifist leanings that were evident prior to deployment orders. I was looking for some deep statement of conscience that rang true.
I didn't see any of those things.
If this fails, I'll bet she gets pregnant.
From WOAI's website:
A federal judge in San Antonio late today rejected a demand by an Army reservist that she be declared a 'conscientious objector' and not be required to deploy with her unit to Afghanistan, 1200 WOAI's Bob Branson reported this afternoon.
Works for me.
I can understand CO status and massive change of heart as a person grows up. How many 20-years olds today have a tight grasp on the real world? Many do (they are the Grunts that scare the liberals so much) and just as many dont (they are the students being indoctrinated to be the next generation of liberals).
But, enough generalizations. Back to this case.
The optimum solution is to grant this young woman her CO status, send her to Fort Sam Huston for retraining, and then send her rosy red A@@ to Iraq as a combat medic! She can still serve her country, earn college credits, train for a rewarding future, and the beat goes on I have to wonder what she would do/say if the Judge directed this solution? Would she be like the COs from previous wars, heroes in every sense of the word, or would she wimp out again because she would still be facing the possibility of losing her rosy red A@@.
An interesting question isnt it? Or should I say, a real measure of her truthfulness?
I also believe COs truly exist/happen. Handled one as a BN XO a couple years ago. In the fall before OIF when it was becoming clear we were likely going to get deployment orders. I thought the guy was sincere. Never actually got the case all the way through the system because he was discharged for medical reasons instead.
I bet you're right about the pregnancy. If that happens, she'll probably be kept on active duty, given a job at Ft Hood until the baby's born, and deployed about a month after (unless she gets preggers again).
Thanks for the update. I'm not surprised, but definitely pleased.
Hooah. Thanks for your service.
Instead, I propose she spend the rest of her tour in the stockade.
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