Throughout the entire Bay Area, and even across the country, the public heard about Keith Mather's protest in the “Nine for Peace” through the widespread coverage in the press. Keith was a local boy who grew up in San Bruno, so he was both singled out for media attention and was sure to be “made an example of” through harsh treatment by Army officials.
The GI March for Peace
Keith was arrested in July. Throughout September and October, a protest march was being planned in support of the “Nine for Peace.” The date would be October 12, and this was going to be a historic moment: the first anti-war march in the country organized by GIs themselves. They would march in the streets from the rally up to the gates of the Presidio. These GIs had to muster the courage to dissent while still on active duty, and they also had to debate whether or not to wear their uniforms — of course, a proud symbol of their honor and service. There were warnings from their superiors that none of this would be tolerated.
Lt. Susan Schnall decided she would wear her uniform at the rally, while speaking from the podium, and in the historic march to the Presidio. For this she later suffered a court-martial.
Meanwhile, when Randy Rowland turned himself in, he expected this would lead the Army to drop any desertion charges, as was the precedent. He also knew this would give him a chance to investigate the conditions inside the stockade, so that he could report back to movement activists. By this point, Randy was deeply politicized and committed to the GI movement to end the Vietnam War.