Winter Soldier 2009

Testifier Biographies

by Iraq Veterans Against the War

Chris Arendt

Chris Arendt was a member of the Michigan Army National Guard from 2001-2007. He served one deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a prison guard.

Arendt was the first guard to speak out about his experiences guarding the detainees in Gitmo’s prisons at Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan, held last year in Washington D.C.

Arendt is now travelling the world as a homeless veteran, documenting the experience.

Zack Baddorf

Zack Baddorf is a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer teaching English at an industrial high school in Barlad, Romania. He joined the U.S. Navy on Sept. 13, 2001 and served five years as a Journalist, including in Iraq and Kuwait. He deployed to the Persian Gulf for six months aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu and spent a month aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal in Iraqi territorial waters protecting Iraq’s oil terminals.

Baddorf worked for two years at American Forces Network Tokyo, producing video and radio news and features stories on US military activities around Asia. During the buildup to the Iraq war, he reported, while off-duty, for independent American media at protests in Japan against the war. For work on-duty, he earned multiple military and civilian media awards and was selected as runner-up Navy Journalist of the Year.

The Delaware-native has also reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and about 25 other countries for National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Radio France International, Talk Radio News Service, and other media organizations. Baddorf is now chair on Free Speech Radio News’ board of directors and a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists. He is also a founding member of the Canadian Afghanistan Solidarity Committee.

Chris Capps-Schubert

Chris Capps-Schubert deployed to Camp Victory, Baghdad, from November 2005 to late September 2006. After a tour in Iraq, the former Army communications specialist refused to deploy to Afghanistan and went absent with out leave (AWOL) in March 2007.

Capps-Schubert enlisted in the US Army Reserves in the spring of 2004 in his hometown of Hackettstown, New Jersey. He attended basic training in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, and graduated among the top of the class there, before attending the US Army Signal School in Ft. Gordon, Georgia and graduating with honors. He returned home as part of the 305th Signal Company 392nd Signal Battalion in the US Army Reserves. He then volunteered to join the ranks of the active-duty Army in Germany. Shortly after arriving in Germany and being assigned to C Company, 440th Signal Battalion, he went on his deployment to Iraq.

After this deployment, the 44th Signal Battalion returned Mannheim but immediately prepared to deploy to Afghanistan. Capps-Schubert decided not to return from his leave in February 2007 and remained AWOL for over 60 days before turning himself in at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, on May 8. He was discharged three days later with a General Discharge.

Today, Capps-Schubert resides with his wife in Hanau, Germany and is the regional coordinator for Europe for the organization Iraq Veterans Against the War. The New Jersey native also counsels GIs who want to get out of the military or who have already deserted.

David Cortelyou

David Cortelyou enlisted in the US Army as a Fire Support Specialist (Forward Observer, or Fister) in late November 2004 under the impression he was enlisting to become a Fireman. He completed same site unit training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma before being assigned to the Headquarters Battery of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment in Giessen Germany.

The soldier was deployed to Bi’aj and Ramadi Iraq from January 14, 2006 to January 13, 2007. He served as a COLT (Combat Observation Lasing Team) driver, machine-gunner, and radio-telephone operator in Iraq.

After returning from Iraq, Cortelyou had problems with depression and suicidal thoughts for which he found no help. He was told that he was going to be sent to another unit that was deploying to Iraq. Instead, Cortelyou went absent without leave (AWOL), not once but twice. Since being separated from the Army in 2007 for going AWOL, he has returned to Germany where he lives with his wife Pia in Giessen, studies German, and is the President of the Frankfurt Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Eddie Falcon

Eddie Falcon served four years in the Air Force as a C-130 Loadmaster. He was assigned to the 50th Airlift Squadron based at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

He deployed to Manas Air Base in Kyrgystan, moving cargo, troops, senators, special forces units, medical evacuees, Afghan locals, vehicles, and more in and out of Afghanistan in the winter of 2003 and the winter of 2004. He was also forward deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar, to move troops, cargo, etc. in and out of Iraq.

Falcon redeployed to Qatar in the summer of 2004. The following summer, he deployed to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait. He transported Iraqi military officials in the Iraqi Officer Exchange program to Jordan, the US Senate Appropriations Committee out of Baghdad, and Prisoners Under Containment (PUC) from Baghdad to Basra Prison.

He also evacuated poor African Americans from their homes in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Falcon received an honorable discharge in December 2005 and is now using the Montgomery GI Bill to major in Spanish at San Francisco City College. He now studies Spanish at the Complutense University in Madrid. In San Francisco, he lives in and maintains a collective radical event space called Station 40.

Since his discharge, Falcon has been involved in anti-war activities back home. He helped organize and testified in Winter Soldier San Francisco. He organized and executed Operation First Casualty San Francisco Black Friday. He joined IVAW members at the Republican National Convention in 2008. He also spoke at an Article 9 Association event in Tokyo in June 2008. He is currently helping organize Winter Soldier Berkeley from Madrid.

Lee Kamara

Lee Kamara, 29 years old, served in the British Army (Light Infantry) for eight years. He had operational tours in Northern Ireland and deployed to Iraq for the initial invasion. Kamara reached lance corporal and was a signals expert in Infantry. He served alongside Martin Webster and they both wrote and played music together.

Kamara is now out of the army and is writing and performing with other ex-servicemen as a member of VOW. He dealt with his stress through music being a singer song writer.

Rose Kazma, MA clinical psychologist

Rose Kazma has been practicing for 19 years and among others, she has worked with individuals suffering from PTSD resulting from US military combat, workplace violence, and criminal/sexual assault.

Kazma decided to leave the USA nine years ago and currently resides in Rome, Italy, where she has been active in a variety of peace and human rights initiatives: to end the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, to close Guantanamo and to end the siege on Gaza. She is also active in racism-immigration issues and opposes the US imperial foreign policy.

Christian Neumann

Neumann is a member of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr). As a land surveyor, he was deployed to Kosovo in 2000 and as a mapper, he also served a tour in Northern Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. His job in Afghanistan was to produce, manage and deliver map documents for special missions.

Neumann has served in the German forces for ten years, with a background in geography. Although he perceived a change in the structure and objectives of the military since the end of the Cold War, he continues serving because he believes he is an asset to the peace movement as a resource.

He is a member of the Darmstädter Signal, an association of German officers and NCOs who call for strict adherence to constitutional and international law, absolute priority for preventive civil conflict resolution over military action, and more democracy for citizen-soldiers in the Bundeswehr.

André Shepherd

André Shepherd is a U.S. Army Specialist who applied for asylum in Germany on Nov. 26, 2008. He is the first Iraq War veteran to pursue refugee status in Europe and only the second U.S. soldier to ever apply for refugee status in Germany.

Shepherd became an Apache helicopter airframe mechanic, hoping to someday qualify up to the role of helicopter pilot. His first unit was deployed to Iraq when he completed his training. Shepherd spent six months on a forward operating base near Tikrit, working 12-hour days to keep the heavily armed Apaches (and their signature Hellfire missiles) in the air.

Shepherd decided that he could no longer support the war in Iraq. He felt he could not apply for conscientious objection because U.S. military regulations state a conscientious objector must have an objection to all war in all form. Shepherd’s objection was not in opposition to all wars under any circumstances.

On April 11, 2007 Shepherd went absent without leave (AWOL) from his Katterbach base in Germany. Shepherd’s application for asylum cites a European Union regulation providing refugee status to a soldier who is in danger of being prosecuted if military service "would include crimes or acts" which violate international law. The application refers to the Nuremberg Trials stating "It is established that a person cannot defend his or her actions by explaining that they had simply been following orders." In effect, Shepherd’s asylum application calls on Germany to clarify the nature of its opposition to the war in Iraq.

Martin Webster

Martin Webster, 32 years old, was in the Light Infantry for 11 and a half years. He served two operational tours in Northern Ireland, one in Sierra Leone and one in Iraq. He reached the rank of Corporal and served in a mortar division. Webster filmed a beating incident in Iraq 2004, which hit the headlines in 2006. After being arrested, even though no charges were brought against him, Webster left the army.

Now he is out of the army and is writing and performing with other ex-servicemen. ‘Voices of War’ was formed by Webster and a group of ex-servicemen who are not happy with the outcome of the Iraq war. The main aim is to urge the government to take more responsibility for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and to increase support, funding and awareness. VOW is an alliance to get the message across using music and art, “so soldiers can hold their heads up and not be ashamed,” Webster explains. VOW has so far raised £900 for the British legion and Combat stress.

For the last two years, Webster has been involved in the making of a documentary ‘Diary of a Disgraced Soldier’ following his life after leaving the army. This documentary contains video diaries charting Webster’s personal thoughts and feelings while adjusting to life outside the army. It shows his expression through painting and music, as well as witnessing the creation of ‘Voices of War’.

Iraq Veterans Against the War: Testifiers Biographies for Winter Soldier Hearing 2009. March 9, 2009.

Keywords:    ⇒ Action Reports   ⇒ Afghanistan   ⇒ Germany   ⇒ Iraq   ⇒ Soldiers   ⇒ United Kingdom   ⇒ USA   ⇒ War