Anti-war Marine faces hearing over uniform


Tuesday, June 5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- An Iraq War veteran accused the Marine Corps on Monday of causing a "disgusting waste of government resources" by holding a hearing about whether he should be punished for wearing his uniform during an anti-war protest.

Marine Corps officials argue they are enforcing military codes in the case of Cpl. Adam Kokesh.

Kokesh, 25, participated in an anti-war protest in Washington in March. When he was identified in a photo caption in The Washington Post, a superior officer sent him an e-mail saying he might have violated a rule prohibiting troops from wearing uniforms without authorization. Kokesh responded with a letter that contained an obscenity.

Kokesh is a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, which consists mainly of those who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligations. His service is due to end June 18, but the Marine Corps is seeking to let him go two weeks early with a less-than-honorable discharge.

That could cut some of his health benefits and force him to repay about $10,800 he received to obtain his undergraduate degree on the GI Bill.

Kokesh's attorney, Lt. Jeremy Melaragno, said during an administrative separation board hearing that his client's free-speech rights are at stake.

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