Ensign Seeks Release from Subs on Religious Grounds

An Ohio-class ballistic submarine on strategic patrol in the Atlantic Ocean. // U.S. Navy

Would you push the button and launch a nuclear missile, if ordered to?

By the time Ensign Michael Izbicki was asked this question in a routine psychological screening at nuclear power school, he had had a religious awakening. He had read the book, Choosing Against War: A Christian View, and had embraced pacifistic Quaker beliefs after periods of intense study and reflection.

Izbicki — a 24-year-old Naval Academy graduate, who holds a master’s degree in computer science from John Hopkins University — answered no, he wouldn’t push the red button.

The Navy, however, rejected two of his requests for an honorable discourage as a conscientious objector. Izbicki, having passed nuke school, is now training to be a submariner at Naval Submarine School in Groton, Conn., while appealing not to be a submariner.

He lives in St. Francis House, a pacifist Christian community in New London, Conn. He rejected promotion to lieutenant junior grade “to reduce his connection to the Navy as much as possible,” and is willing to pay the Navy back for his eduction, according to a suit filed on his behalf.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition in federal court seeking Izbicki’s honorable discharge on Wednesday, a development first reported by The Hartford Courant.


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  1. Nice of him to offer to pay back the Navy for his education, but I’d like to see him explain himself to the would be Midshipman who was passed over so that Izbicki could waste 6 years of the Navy’s time and resourses attempting to develop a future leader.

  2. This guy should get nothing less then a dishonorable discharge, for waste of taxpayers money, conduct unbecoming, waste of resources, etc., etc. end of story

  3. Oh yeah…a Navy trained nuclear technician (without ever having to deploy, endure hardship, make a sacrifice)…hmmm, starting at say $80,000 for GE, Westinghouse or any other energy powerhouse. Yeah, I’ll pay my costs back too.

  4. He turned down jg, you really think its just about money? That’s a big pay increase. And say he is sincere, and the day does come our security depends on him pushing the button, you wanna take that chance? He hasn’t done anything wrong, let him out with an honorable and pay back his school

  5. Did this clown think he was going to hand out flowers if a war broke out. How could he spend so much time in a military orginazation, then not like being part of the machine. Trained for a big dollar job at NAVY/Taxpayer expense. Send him to some remote outpost digging ditches and making water out of sand.

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