Veterans Plan "Deployment" to Join Water Protectors' Battle Against DAPL

Over 1,000 U.S. military veterans are planning to “deploy” to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and peacefully support the water protectors’ fight against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

“If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”
—Michael Wood Jr.,
Veterans Stand for Standing Rock”We are calling for our fellow veterans to assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Dec 4-7 and defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security,” the organizers wrote on the group’s GoFundMe page.

“Come to Standing Rock Indian Reservation and hold the line with Wes Clark Jr., Michael Wood Jr., [Hawaii Democratic Rep.] Tulsi Gabbard, and hundreds of other veterans in support of the Sioux nation against the DAPL pipeline,” reads the description of the action on Facebook.

The event, Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, was put together by “veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including the U.S. Army, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard,” according to the group’s fundraiser.

The call to action has already garnered nearly $200,000 in donations, which will to go toward funding veterans’ travel to North Dakota and legal fees they are likely to incur.

Clark Jr. and Wood Jr., the two primary organizers of the campaign, spoke to their passion for the water protectors’ cause and their commitment to nonviolence when they were profiled earlier this week in the veterans’ publication Task & Purpose:

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“According to an ‘operations order’ for the planned engagement, posted to social media in mid-November, ‘First Americans have served in the United States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans. There is no other people more deserving of veteran support,'” Task & Purpose writes.

Indeed, Wood Jr. posted full the operations order on Twitter:

The veterans are prepared for the police violence that they may encounter: “Bring [b]ody armor, gas masks, earplugs, AND shooting mufflers (we may be facing a sound cannon) but no drugs, alcohol, or weapons,” the organizers told the volunteers.

Task & Purpose delved into all the details of the veterans’ plan, which is intended both to bolster the peaceful water protectors’ fight as well as to draw media attention to the ongoing protest:

“We’ll have those people who will recognize that they’re not willing to take a bullet, and those who recognize that they are,” Wood Jr. told Task & Purpose. “It’s okay if some of them step back, but Wes and I have no intention of doing so.”

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