Interview with Steven Dunkley

Yeah, tell me you were the Induction Officer.


I was the Induction Officer, ah, we carried on just like it is always carried on, ah, exactly by the books. There is Army regulations to say exactly how it is to be done. Basically, they are all brought in, lined up in rows, ah, in, in the Induction room. Then, myself as the processing officer, ah, came in and, ah, I tell, would tell them that, ah, the, the induction ceremony consists of two parts. The first part is, we call their name and then they take a step forward and that step forward constitute their induction in the United States Army. Then after that, then they raise their right hand and they're sworn in with the oath, oath of allegiance to the U.S. Army and the country and everything. So, ah, I started down through the group, ah, and, ah, though, it goes alphabetical. When I got down I said, "Muhammad Ali," and he didn't do anything. And so then I said, "Cassius Clay," because we weren't really sure if he had changed his name legally. The Draft Board said that he had changed it and his legal name was Muhammad Ali. But we weren't really sure, ah, so we, we checked to make sure there was no technical problem there. And he, ah, did not step forward. So, at that time, Lieutenant Hartman who was the XO of the, ah, Induction, ah, Center plus, ah, Captain Hall, they took him out and they, into another room, and they advised him of his rights, that it was, ah, a $10,000 fine and five years in the federal penitentiary for refusing induction in the armed forces and asked him if he was clear on this and he said yes he was. So then, in the meantime I had finished the, the ceremony for the rest of them and they had all been, ah, sworn in and they left. And we brought just him back in. There was Lieutenant Hartman, Colonel McKee, myself, doing this ceremony and also Captain Hall, who was the psychologist. And, ah, I again called his name. He did not step forward. And so, ah, we advised him that he had not stepped forward and he, you know, had not taken induction in the Army that day and that he was free to go. Where the rest of them had got on the bus and they were heading to Fort Polk, Louisiana. Then we counseled him that he was free to go and we told him we had set up a press room, which we told him earlier that day, that we had set up a press room. We asked him, did he want to go to the press room and talk to those people or did he want out of the Induction Station by a, a back door where he wouldn't have to worry about any, any problems. And he said he wanted to go to the press room. So then, ah, Colonel McKee went to the press room and told them that, ah, Muhammad Ali would be down there shortly and to, you know, get ready and that he had in fact refused induction in the United States Army.


Good. Let's cut. Very good. That's very good, very good.