After court fight, ensign honorably discharged


Michael Izbicki, formerly an ensign in the submarine training pipeline, was granted conscientious objector status after being rejected twice. // ACLU-CT

Reversing two previous refusals, the Navy granted conscientious objector status to a submariner-in-training and honorably discharged him on Feb. 16, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented him, said in a press release Tuesday.

The former ensign, Michael Izbicki, 25, found his Quaker views diverging from those required of a naval officer as he entered active duty. In a routine psychological screening at nuclear power school, as he prepared to serve aboard submarines, he was asked if he would launch a nuclear missile. He answered no.

Izbicki had embraced pacifism after a period of intense study and reflection. But in his life in Groton, Ct., he commuted between two seemingly irreconcilable stations: Naval Submarine School, where he worked, and St. Francis House, the pacifist Christian community where he lived.

The Navy twice rejected his applications for conscientious objector status and the ACLU, on his behalf, took his case to federal court in November.

“After the filing the case, the Navy took a third look at the [conscientious objector]packet and recognized him as a conscientious objector,” ACLU of Connecticut staff attorney David McGuire said in a phone interview. “And I think it’s important to note that the papers that we filed in federal court contained the exact same facts as those in the second sealed application.”

Asked what’s next for Izbicki, McGuire said: “He’s probably going to go back to California, where his family is from and where he’s originally from. But the main thing is: He’s looking forward to being free of conflicts between his religious beliefs and his work.”

Izbicki, as part of the agreement, will have to reimburse the Navy for the cost of his education, which includes four years at the Naval Academy and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. The Navy, McGuire said, will send him the bill.


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  1. WTF was he thinking he was going to do? I’m sure he is now greatly looking forward to opening his ($100,000) bill from the Navy.

  2. This is what pisses me off the most about these weak ass sailors we have in the Navy now. You have these individuals that forget what the Navy’s overall mission is…protecting our country!!! It’s scary to know that you have someone like this that is putting every sailors life in danger due to fact that his religious views are clouding his overall duties and responsibilities. I really do not believe he had any intentions on serving…he just wanted the educational benefits from the Navy. He thought he could cheat the system by playing that conscientious objector card. Go home back to your mommy and continue breast feeding coward!!! Oh yeah, don’t forget your loan from Cash Advance to pay back the Navy loser!!!

  3. actually it will be more than that, as he got his Master’s from JHU, and don’t forget the nuclear power bonus he got for selecting the sub community. i’m a friend of his and i know him to be a very, very smart guy and if this is what he wants to do, then let him do it. though he now is going to pay for it. small price to pay for your morals though, if you ask me.

  4. Enjoy your freedom to worship that some other human, much greater than yourself, helped to provide for you. Pacifists and parasites have a lot in common.

  5. GEE, I think I will join the Navy, get a GREAT education, and learn something. Oh by the way I am a conscientious objector, but I won’t tell anyone until the time comes that I feel I can no longer do what I agreed to do. Maybe I can get out and have a FREE education. Guess what STUPID, you owe some where around $150,000.00. Hope you find a job you girly man.

  6. This sounds a lot like playing the “race” card. The standard has been set….want to get out of your contract, just claim “conscientious” status, tell the navy you are taking them to court, and you become a free man. For those of you that have read the article, and you are hatting the individual, wrong answer……hate the system.

  7. It is good that the Navy granted conscientious objector status to Michael Izbicki and honorably discharged him. I’m glad he had the strong moral courage to do what he did (and I wish we had other officers with just as strong levels of moral courage related to their how they carry out and complete their own military service and obligation).

    However, there is a cost and the Navy better do it right.

    The US comptroller puts the 4 year cost of the Naval Academy at about $343,000 (Still cheaper than 4 years at the US Military Academy by about $100,000). If he went to the NAPS, add another $75,000.

    Add the degree from Johns Hopkins for $25,000 +/- (unless he earned his Masters going to school full time at which case add his fully burdened (pay and benefits) at a about $85,000 (average)) and he has a BIG (but realistic) bill to pay…..and the Navy better go after the full amount. If he is sincere in what he says, then he should have no problem making a “cost neutral” reimbursement to the Navy.

    The American Taxpayer deserves to be FULLY reimbursed. Navy, don’t make up ridiculously low numbers. As a military service, you have the legal and moral responsibility to ensure all costs are reimbursed (regardless of how poorly you do with holding defense contractors feet to the fire when they waste money).

    Maybe the ACLU will help him raise the cash.

  8. It was nice of him to realize he couldn’t fight AFTER he completed the Academy and other schooling to aquire his Masters. I am sure the Navy will send him a bill and then he will find some loophole to get out of it. He played the system and has set an expensive and dangerous precedent.

  9. Conscientious objectors disgust me. It’s the military dumbass – what do you think you’re going to be called on to do? Hug puppies?

  10. It’s not about the money, though he’s cheerfully wasted valuable Navy resources.

    He’s also wasted a training slot that should have gone to someone willing to complete his initial service commitment.

    Our community has historically been a little short staffed, with the painful exception of the drawdown. When you short staff a boat some other poor slob has to pick up your watches.

    Best Regards,
    Retired 1125

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