September 2, 2006
Yesterday, at approximately 1:30pm Mark turned himself in to his unit at Fort Hood, Texas. Prior to his surrender he gave a press conference at Camp Casey in Crawford, TX with Ann Wright (26 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and diplomat in the State Department for 15 years), Geoffrey Millard (former National Guard sergeant), Chaz Davis (former military police officer), Charlie Anderson (Petty Officer 2nd Class, U.S. Navy, assigned to the second marine division, second tank battalion 5th regimental combat team.), & Cindy Sheehan. You can read the transcript of his statement HERE and watch video from the press conference HERE.
Several of Mark’s supporters escorted Mark to Fort Hood, where he was met at the visitors center by media and Army Representative Major Joe Edstrom. After a brief statement he was escorted back on base. In a phone call received from Mark later than night he said that “I have been treated remarkably well.” After leaving his supports he said he was given a basic search, and ushered into the offices of his commanding officers who assured him that they wanted to treat him professionally and proceed in the proper way.
While Mark is restricted on-post, he can move freely around the base and have visitors.
While much of his original command has changed, he has encountered several of his old buddy’s. He said that several soldiers told him that “everyone has been supportive since the beginning, and knew that he tried to get out the right way before making the decision to go AWOL.”
For more on Mark’s story and yesterday’s events visit the following news links:
– National Public Radio: AWOL Iraq Veteran Returns to Base by Steve Inskeep
– Colorado Springs Gazette: Soldier from Springs surrenders after 20 months AWOL by Cary Vogrin
– Waco Tribune: AWOL U.S. soldier surrenders by Mike Anderson