Chapter 25 counter-recruiting, essay contest in Six Rural Southwestern Wisconsin High Schools

VFP Counter-Recruiting display at Baraboo High School.  Photo by David Giffey.

VFP Counter-Recruiting display at Baraboo High School. Photo by David Giffey.

In early 2016, Veterans for Peace Chapter 25 members spent lunch hours counter-

recruiting in six high schools in rural Southwestern Wisconsin. This photo shows

the visual display set up at Baraboo High School in March. Also included in the

counter recruitment and essay contest sponsored by Chapter 25 are high schools:

River Valley in Spring Green, Riverdale in Muscoda, Dodgeville, Boscobel, and

Richland Center. Students receive information regarding alternatives to the military

and details about the on-going essay contest. In 2015, a total of 39 seniors at the six

rural high schools wrote essays on the topic “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.”

The winning essay writer in each school received a $500 scholarship from Chapter

25. The counter-recruiting and scholarship essay program in Southwestern

Wisconsin is coordinated by Chapter 25 founding member David Giffey. Member

Randy Converse assisted with counter recruiting in the rural high schools. The

scholarships will be presented to the winning students at award night ceremonies at

each of the schools before the end of the 2016 school year. For more information

about the rural high school scholarship program, email David Giffey:

barnowl1941 (at) gmail (dot) com

A Proposal: Atomic Veterans Recognition Day

By F. Lincoln Grahlfs Vice Commander, National Assn of Atomic Vets 

Atomic Vets-4156On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert, the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated. A mere three weeks later, on the 6th and 9th of August, two more of these weapons were exploded over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This precipitated the already imminent conclusion of war between the United States and Japan.

The reaction to the destruction, and the overwhelming death toll in the two Japanese cities was overwhelming. There were widespread calls from both scientists and lay persons for such weapons to be outlawed.

But, to use a time-worn expression, the Genie was out of the bottle; there were elements in our government who were intrigued by this new line of weapons. So, within two months the US Navy was calling for volunteers to participate in a program to test the effectiveness of atomic weapons against naval vessels. The tests were to take place at a small Pacific atoll the following spring.

The number of volunteers fell far below expectations, so personnel were simply assigned to this operation, and many others that followed, both in the Pacific and in an unpopulated area of Nevada. These tests continued until the atmospheric nuclear test ban was negotiated in 1962. During that period literally hundreds of nuclear weapons were detonated.

The most conservative estimates of the number of soldiers, sailors and marines who were exposed to the potentially harmful effects of ionizing radiation in these weapons tests at somewhat more than a quarter of a million. Many of them have endured serious health consequences; among the others, there is a nagging worry. These men, who refer to themselves as Atomic Veterans, are generally proud to have served their country. They feel, however, that they were forced to be subjects in a risky experiment for which they were denied the option of informed consent.

In light of the above facts we deem it appropriate to designate July 16th, in this and ensuing years, as ATOMIC VETERANS RECOGNITION DAY.

Download a printable .pdf version of this proposal.

Postscript: Great Following and Great Results for We Gotta Get Out of this Place by Craig Werner and Doug Bradley

By Paul McMahon, Madison Veterans for Peace

January 1, 2016


Madison Veterans for Peace brought the karma big-time to the authors of We Gotta Get Out of this Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War. Not only was the turn-out gratifying at the spacious community room at the Madison Urban League on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Not only was the 60 minute presentation well met by solid applause, many books sold and refreshments plentiful—the pièce de la résistance materialized a few days later when Rolling Stone Magazine named the book as the top music book of 2015. To quote RS: Doug Bradley and Craig Werner’s account of music’s connection to the Vietnam War is intimate and deeply informative, with a scope that encompasses both the war itself and the way that music has helped raise awareness of veterans’ issues long after its end. Read more: 10 Best Music Books of 2015.

A great evening of shared discussion with Chapter 25 and many members of the public.  Congratulations to the authors, and thanks to all who were able to attend.