Grateful for wartime choices

I am thankful for the foresight of the men who approached Congress and the military about alternative service and classifications for conscientious objectors (“A win-win in wartime” by Rich Preheim, Nov. 27). Due to the work that they did, there were two classifications for COs: 1-O, alternative service; and 1-A-O, available for military service. For the light that was given, as I could see the light, I chose 1-A-O. I saw many of my brother citizens being drafted and going to Vietnam. As a CO I wanted to save lives, not take them, but why should I not suffer the travails of my brothers? I volunteered and was trained as a combat medic. I was sent to Korea and served in the Demilitarized Zone, which was a combat zone. I was accepted by the riflemen, but some of the noncommissioned officers weren’t too happy. Maybe they thought someone who would not take a rifle and kill was a coward. If running onto a battlefield as a medical corpsman without a weapon was cowardice, I could live with that. To all who would ask, I gave my reasons for the choice I had made. Many other 1-A-Os went to Vietnam, and some were wounded or killed. I believe we were able to reflect the light to the light we were given. This would not have been possible but for the prayerful service and insight of Orie O. Miller, Arthur Swift, Paul Furnas, M.R. Ziegler and many others.

Rob Schrock, Kalispell, Mont.

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