Servicemen Demand Bonus 1973
March led by the American Servicemen’s Union (ASU) demanding a $2,500 bonus starting at Mt. Vernon Square, marching past the Veterans Administration and onto Lafayette Park in front of the White House May 19, 1973.

The demonstrators opposed planned Nixon administration cuts in veteran’s disability benefits and called for a $2,500 bonus to Vietnam era vets.

The ASU was founded by U.S. Army private Andy Stapp in 1967 with members from different bases and different branches of the service.

The ASU demands ranged from ending discrimination to extending Constitutional rights to soldiers to election of officers. The union also demanded collective bargaining with the brass.

Stapp faced court-martial for refusing to turn over anti-war leaflets and was later acquitted at another court martial after protests by antiwar groups led to unwanted publicity by the military. Soldiers in Stapp’s units were transferred to other units, but this only spread Stapp’s message.

Eventually the Army drummed him out with an undesirable discharge.

Stapp continued to organize the ASU and several thousand GIs became members. Chapters were established at most U.S. bases. The newspaper “The Bond” was mailed to 20,000 at its peak and reached many more through hand to hand contact.

The group faded after the Vietnam War and the draft ended, but Stapp continues to be active in anti-war and progressive causes today. Stapp was quoted in Workers World newspaper in 2002, “"While we didn't win union recognition, we were a factor in ending the war."

This set of images was scanned from a contact print. Original negatives are apparently lost. Non-commercial use of images in this set should be credited to Reading/Simpson unless otherwise noted. Commercial use of these items is prohibited without express permission.
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