Four arrested at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Hiroshima Day


Photo by Rozella Apel-Hernandez

from the Los Angeles Catholic Worker

On August 6, 30 members of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, the Guadalupe Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace gathered at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During their peace vigil, Mike Wisniewski and Karan Benton were approached by base security and warned that they were in violation of Ban and Bar letters (letters received from the base commander after prior arrests there, notifying them that they were now banned and barred from entering the base without written permission from the base commander). The two activists were asked to leave immediately or face arrest. Wisniewski chose to leave the protest area, while Benton refused to leave and was immediately arrested.

Later, after the vigil and prayer service, Los Angeles Catholic Worker Jed Poole and Veterans for Peace member Chris Knudson crossed the green line marking the lawful protest area, processed down the base road and were arrested near the visitor’s center. While those arrests were taking place, David Omondi walked into the street without the intention of being arrested, but was nevertheless arrested. All were cited for trespass and released 30 minutes later at Vandenberg Village, seven miles from the base gate. Court dates will be scheduled at a later date.

From Chris Knudson, after his release: “We couldn’t hear the instructions and warning from the main cop as he began his speech while we were still about 100 yards away. But I knew from past experiences what he was saying. Then we heard ’30 seconds’ and I figured things would begin to happen swiftly. They did, and we were both arrested, placed in handcuffs, and walked behind the main guard building for patting down and processing. After about 10 minutes, we were joined by David Omondi, a friend and L.A. Catholic Worker who I was arrested with last year, who just came over to see how we were doing. They arrested him anyway, even though that wasn’t his plan. After processing, they drove us about 10 miles away and dropped us off near Vandenberg Village, where we were picked up by our friends and reunited with our vehicles. It was a good day with good friends. Of course, the reason for such actions is to put an end to nuclear weapons, nuclear power and war. Never again should another Hiroshima and Nagasaki take place. Never…

Jed and Chris

Photo by Rozella Apel-Hernandez