This is coolbert:
From the Chicago Tribune today:
On this date 31 January: "In 1945 Pvt. Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. Soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France."
The last time the Tribune having printed this item in the daily ALMANAC being 2009 now.
That "item" needing clarification which I am as is usual happy to provide. A much needed and warranted clarification.
Slovik of course executed not merely for desertion but FOR DESERTION IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY!
Desertion in the face of the enemy considered of course a much more egregious offense that mere desertion.
An offense under military law as meriting the death penalty which was carried out.
Statistics regard the number of American service men convicted of mere desertion during Second World War [WW2] unclear according to the various web sites. That number being sent to prison for mere desertion either 2,000 or 20,000. That number of American servicemen in all components from that era of WW2 about 16 million!
That number charged with and convicted of desertion in the face of the enemy much less but that absolute number as understood also not clear. From various web sites the number either forty-one or forty-nine men guilty and sentenced to death for desertion in the face of the enemy.
Of that several dozens facing the death penalty only Slovik executed. ONLY Slovik amongst those several dozens of the condemned refusing the offer to return to combat and having his penalty lifted and record expunged.
Numbers [that exact number not clear] of American servicemen during WW2 executed by the military for CRIMINAL offenses, rape, rape and murder, etc. Louis Till or Eddie Leonski for instance.
See these previous blog entries regarding the Slovik case. Hard to understand what the man was thinking. Eddie was deemed as an incorrigible by Eisenhower but nonetheless an "out" was given to the man that he did not take advantage of.
Eddie is now and has been for some a cause celebre. At least in the minds of those persons that write the ALMANAC he seems to be.