Mark Wilkerson (conscientious objector)

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Army Specialist Mark Wilkerson (born 1984 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA) was in Iraq as an American soldier and Iraq War deserter.

Wilkerson enlisted in the US Army in the summer of his junior year of high school, before the September 11 attacks, through a delayed entry program. He served in a military police battalion and was deployed to Iraq. After returning from his first deployment, he came to believe that the American armed forces were not there for the reasons stated. He felt no longer able to serve the military in any aspect. After his first tour in Iraq, Wilkerson had filed for conscientious objector status but was denied. He appealed but would not be heard until returning from a second tour in Iraq what he found unacceptable.

In consequence, Wilkerson did not return to his unit after a two-weeks leave. In 2005, he went absence without leave (AWOL) for 19 months and then, in 2006, turned himself in to his unit. With support of Cindy Sheehan's group, he returned to Fort Hood to face court-martial. Wilkerson was convicted and sentenced to seven months in military prison with a Bad Conduct Discharge for violations of Article 85 (desertion) and an Article 87 (missing movement). He was released from prison July 13, 2007.


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