Clergy, Veterans Among Five Arrested Ash Wednesday at U.S. Killer Drone Protest at Beale Air Base; Ashes Spread Memorializing Children Killed by Drones

March 06, 2014
for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Contact: Veterans for Peace, Barry Binks (916) 284-0944,

MARYSVILLE/BEALE AFB (8:31 a.m.) – Five people – including three members of the clergy, and two veterans/one from World War II – were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service around 8 a.m. today at the gates of Beale Air Force Base, site of the surveillance drone Global Hawk.

Participants, who were charged with trespassing, said they were risked arrested to "memorialize" the children killed by the U.S. government's fleet of killer drones. Beale's drones perform reconnaissance work for U.S. Predator Drones.

The demonstrators spread ashes memorializing those of children killed by U.S. drones overseas.

The five arrested included: Rev. Sharon Delgado, Nevada City; Rev. Elizabeth Griswold, Davis/Sacramento; Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, an 89-year-old WW II U.S. Marine & VFP Member, retired Lutheran pastor, Sacramento; Flora Rogers, Marysville and Michael Kerr, a veteran, Bay Point.

Rev. Pedersen was on the Battleship USS Missouri that accepted the Japanese surrender Sept. 2, 1945.

It is the fourth arrest at Beale AFB in about a year. Nine people have been convicted in U.S. Federal Court, and another trial is set for next month.

Wednesday's Ash Wednesday service included a call to faithfulness and action, songs, prayers, scripture, Holy Communion (open to all), and the use of ashes to symbolize repentance and to acknowledge our mortality and interrelatedness with the whole web of life.

Some carried white crosses with drawings memorializing children killed by US drones.

"We issued a call to repentance for: the harm done to the Indigenous people who used to live where Beale is now, the harm being done to Mother Earth by our building and deploying high-tech weapons and weapons of mass destruction, the harm done to families and communities who suffer cutbacks in public services while billions are spent for the military, the overall harm caused by the global reach of US military power," said Sharon Delgado, one of the clergy arrested. She was also arrested last year at a protest at Beale.