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Recently I received this from Yvette Coil (see below) detailing what she and her husband went thru when Tim (her husband) after filing for Conscientious Objector status. As you will see in reading this, Tim and Yvette were put through a "meat-grinder" and never did receive C.O. status. Ultimately he did receive an Honorable discharge, but then Tim's enlistment was up anyway by that time.
 
Yvette has given me permission to disseminate this in the hopes it will help to enlighten people about the "what's, how-comes, where-fore's" of applying for C.O. status. She is also willing to correspond and share the ins and outs of the process for those who wish to attempt taking on the process of filing for C.O. status.
 
POAC fully supports any and all that wish to file as C.O.'s and will be providing more info along with resources to be of assistance in the filing in the not to distant future. We are in process of pulling that all together.
 
Jack | POAC co-editor
 

Ask A Vet: Profile of Conscientious Objectors
By: Tim and Yvette Coil

 
While serving with the U.S. Army in the early 1990s, Tim Coil came to the conclusion that military service was incompatible with following Jesus. He was sent to the front lines in Iraq, where he faced death threats for refusing to carry a weapon.  Back at the base in Germany, Yvette (Tim’s wife) was ostracized as "the C.O.'s wife."

 

Originally from Ohio, Tim joined the Army in 1985 and reenlisted for a second tour after marrying Yvette. In Nürnburg, Germany, where they were stationed, the Coils began attending church and studying the Bible. As the build-up toward war in the Gulf got underway, Tim befriended a soldier applying for conscientious objector status. At the same time, Tim's sister passed away and Yvette was pregnant with their first child.

"When my son was born — Dec. 3, 1990 — that's what crystallized my beliefs in non-violence," Tim remembers. “I realized that God created my son, and God created everyone else's sons. God gives life, so what right do I have to take it?"

 

 His commanding officers were not happy about this realization. "'We'll drag you down there, or you'll go to prison,'" Tim remembers one yelling. Not certain of his options, he went to the Gulf but refused to carry a weapon.

At the same time, Cathy and Andre Gingerich Stoner, where serving with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Germany, and their network of peace counselors in Germany were offering information to military personnel seeking to apply for conscientious objector (C.O.) status. After phone conversations between Cathy and Yvette, Tim's was one of the cases they followed.

 In Saudi Arabia, and eventually in Kuwait and Iraq, Tim felt under attack on all sides. Ordered to drive a fuel truck on the front lines, he saw the carnage of war on the

battlefield. He was harassed and taunted by other Americans, and one day he overheard two colleagues discussing shooting him and blaming his death on a sniper.

In Germany, Yvette maintained contact with the Stoners as Tim attempted to compile the extensive list of documents and statements needed to apply for C.O. status. Through MCC and other peace networks, the Stoners spread the word about Tim's situation and called for letters of support to the couple, their Congressional representatives and Tim's

commanding officer.

Letters came by the dozens, then hundreds, from Mennonites, Quakers and Bruderhof members.

"This letter is to promise my prayer and moral support for your deeply held beliefs," wrote Virgil Brenneman, a member of Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind. A former C.O. himself, Brenneman encouraged Tim to continue to follow Jesus. Like many of the letters they received, Brenneman's was one the Coils kept to show to their children.

Tim told the men he worked with, "I won't expect you to defend me. I'm out there without a weapon, ready to stare death in the face — but I don't want to cause someone else to die." Yvette meanwhile was speaking out against the war and publicizing her husband's situation. "She probably had just as hard a time as I did," Tim says. "I'm very proud of her."

When Tim returned to Germany in May 1991 after six months in the Gulf, he finished compiling the records and reference letters needed for his C.O. application. Finally released from the military in May 1992 — Tim accepted an honorable discharge on other grounds after his C.O. application had been held up for a year — the family moved to Ohio.

The years of trauma had taken their toll. Tim became withdrawn and couldn't find a church where he felt comfortable. He had health problems, which he attributes to the war, and struggled to control his temper.

"I had lost my confidence during Desert Storm," Tim says. "My own brother [when he heard about the threats on Tim's life] said he'd have tried to kill me, too. I felt like I couldn't trust anyone."

The dark clouds finally began to lift about a year ago when Yvette suggested they see a counselor. In July, she found the Stoners' e-mail address on the Internet and wrote to thank them.

"What was amazing was the reams of letters they had received —we had no idea how many had come in," says Andre. "It's encouraging to know these kinds of letters really do make a difference in people's lives." Andre suggested that the Coils try attending nearby Aurora (Ohio) Mennonite Church.

 "We immediately felt like we were home," Tim says. "The church has been a real blessing."

While many of the books and materials Tim read while applying for C.O. status were written from an Anabaptist perspective, the Coils hadn't realized the extent to which a belief in non-resistance is central to Mennonite faith. They are now looking forward to sharing their experiences with others in the church.

The need for what they have to say has been especially clear since the events of Sept. 11, 2001 Tim says. "The recent violence has solidified my beliefs even further, "he says. "Violence begets violence…For Christians, the values of our country shouldn't come before the values of God."

Tim and Yvette also share their experiences with their children, Joshua, now 10, and their daughter, Brittany, age 9. "I want people to know that not one little bit of support, not one letter went unnoticed," Tim says. "Their help continues to affect me and my family. They were a blessing, and I'm grateful."

You can email your questions and comments to Tim and Yvette Coil.   
[email protected]

 

Yvette Coil 


http://www.mennonitecc.ca/ask -a-vet/t_y_coil.html

 

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