San Diego-based sailor refuses deployment in protest of war
1:25 p.m. December 6, 2004
SAN DIEGO – A Navy petty officer opposed to the war in Iraq refused to board his ship Monday as sailors and Marines deployed for the Persian Gulf.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, 23, said he has opposed the war since its inception. Until recently, the weapons-control technician said he did not feel he had a direct role in the war. Two weeks ago, however, he said he was involuntarily transferred to the amphibious transport USS Bonhomme Richard, which ferries Marines to Iraq.
"I don't want to be a part of a ship that's taking 3,000 Marines over there, knowing a hundred or more of them won't come back," he said. "I can't sleep at night knowing that's what I do for a living."
Paredes of the New York City borough of the Bronx said he joined the Navy in 2000 and has 20 months left on his six-year enlistment. He said he was stationed previously in Japan.
He said he was young and naive when he joined the Navy and "never imagined, in a million years, we would go to war with somebody who had done nothing to us."
Paredes was at the ship's pier at Navy Base San Diego Monday as Expeditionary Strike Group Five left for its tour in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Military officials did not immediately comment on his actions. He could face a court-martial, a dishonorable discharge and possible time in a military jail.
He said he hopes his protest might inspire other sailors, soldiers and Marines to refuse to take part in the war.
"I know other people are feeling the same way I am, and I'm hoping more people will stand up," he said. "They can't throw us all in jail."
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