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Eddie Slovik
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Military Personnel
    (February 18, 1920-January 31, 1945)
    Born in Detroit, Michigan
    Drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II (Jaunary 1944)
    Deserted his rifle company during heavy fighting in France (August 25, 1944)
    Turned himself in to a Canadian military police unit and voluntarily reported to his company commander (October 7, 1944)
    Refused to go back to war and signed a confession that he would 'run away' again (October 9, 1944)
    Court martialed for desertion and sentenced to death (November 11, 1944)
    Applied for clemency from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who refused and ordered the sentence be carried out (December 23, 1944)
    Executed by firing squad in France at age 24
    First U.S. soldier executed for desertion since the American Civil War
    Subject of the 1954 book 'The Execution of Private Slovik' by William Bradford Huie
    Book made into a TV movie of the same name in 1974 starring Martin Sheen
    As a kid he was a two-bit thief who twice spent time in jail.
    His criminal record caused him to be classified unfit for military duty, but a year after he wed he was reclassified 1-A and sent to basic training.
    He called his wife Mommy.
    He was twice given the chance to report for duty with no action taken against him and twice turned the offer down, preferring a court martial.
    Some thought the execution order would never be carried out up until the bullets ripped into him.
    He was buried in a secret cemetery in France alongside 96 other American soldiers executed for crimes such as murder and rape.
    He was reclassified fit for duty because the U.S. Army was running out of fresh bodies during the bloody 1944 campaign in France.
    Rather than refusing to report he continually asked to be assigned to a non-fighting unit and was repeatedly turned down.
    His fear of combat caused him to not be able to hold a rifle steady or shoot accurately.
    21,049 U.S. military personel were convicted of desertion during World War II and 49 were given death sentences, yet he was the only one executed.
    When a member of the firing squad tried to comfort him, he stated, 'I'm okay. They're not shooting me for deserting the U.S. Army--thousands of guys have done that. They're shooting me for bread I stole when I was 12 years old.'
    Frank Sinatra tried to have a movie about him made in 1960, but the Kennedy camp who he was supporting for president advised against it.
    He is mentioned in Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s 1969 classic novel 'Slaughterhouse-Five.'
    In 1987 he was reburied next to his wife in a Detroit cemetery by former county commissioner Bernard Calka (who used $8,000 of his own money), stating 'The man didn’t refuse to serve, he refused to kill.'

Credit: Scar Tactics

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