This is coolbert:
Given that we are on the subject of desertion "in the face of the enemy" and the supreme punishment [death] being exacted, as was in the case of Edwin Dyett, it is useful to refresh our memories concerning the case of Eddie Slovik?
Eddie, THE ONLY AMERICAN SOLDIER EXECUTED DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [WW2] FOR DESERTION!!
Read previous entries from the MILITARY THOUGHTS blog dealing with Eddie here and here.
Eddie, as in the case of Edwin Dyett executed by firing squad, again, for desertion "in the face of the enemy"! Eddie, also, a cause celebre' among some persons in the U.S. Persons feeling Eddie was done an INJUSTICE!
As has been noted, desertion "in the face of the enemy" is intuitively understood to be a much more serious charge than mere desertion. Desertion while your unit is actually involved in combat operations, leaving your post, abandoning your buddies, is an egregious offense without amelioration.
Understand that of the 15 million American men that donned the uniform during WW2, about 22,000 deserted, ONLY forty or so individuals deserting while "in the face of the enemy", those forty [including Eddie] being sentenced to death by firing squad.
[those 22,000 deserting but NOT sentenced to death served prison sentences and were then discharged, returned to civilian life as being unworthy, given a dishonorable discharge, for all that meant with regard to job prospects, etc.]
Eddie, considered by Eisenhower to be an incorrigible individual, executed, BUT ONLY AFTER HAVING BEEN OFFERED AN "OUT"!! Return to your unit and participate in combat, AND YOUR CONVICTION AND DEATH SENTENCE WILL BE EXPUNGED!!
"in·cor·ri·gi·ble - –adjective 1. not corrigible; bad beyond correction or reform: 2. impervious to constraints or punishment; willful; unruly; uncontrollable"
This needs [??] to be reiterated? Of all those troops sentenced to death, forty of so, including Eddie, ALL were offered an alternative to execution. ONLY Eddie refused the offer "that could not be refused"!!
Eddie being the ONLY man refusing the "out", being executed as a consequence. This with the end of the war ONLY a few months away!!
[Eisenhower prior to passing final judgement on Eddie, reviewed BOTH the civilian and military records of Slovik. Eddie had done time in prison prior to his induction into the military. Ike did reasonably infer that Eddie was an incorrigible unworthy of mercy! Mercy had been previously offered and refused! Eddie made a hard bed and ended up having to lie on it!!]