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Kings Bay Plowshares

Posted by Erin Bechtol

Seven Catholic plowshares activists were detained early Thursday morning at the Kings Bay Naval Base St. Mary’s Georgia.

They entered on Wednesday night April 4.  Calling themselves Kings Bay Plowshares, they went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command: “beat swords into plowshares.”

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism and materialism. In their statement, which they carried with them, the group quoted King, who said: The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.”

Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction.

Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean Trident port.  It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world.  There are six ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs based at Kings Bay.

The activists went to three sites on the base: The administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers.  The activists used crime scene tape, hammers and banners reading: The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King; The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide; Nuclear weapons: illegal – immoral.  They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace.

The activists at the nuclear weapons storage bunkers were Elizabeth McAlister, 78; Jonah House, Baltimore; Steve Kelly, SJ, 69, Bay Area, CA; Carmen Trotta, 55, NY, Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Administration building were Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker; Martha Hennessy, 62, NY, Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Trident D5 monuments were Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker New Haven, CT; Patrick O’Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland, Catholic Worker, Garner, NC.

All activists are being detained and as of 10:00 Thursday morning were acknowledged by the Camden County, Georgia jail as “on the way.” No one was injured.

This is the latest of 100 similar Plowshares actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, PA.

Update as of 4/10/18

They can receive and send only plain white postcards from the post office with the printed stamp not pasted on (drug concerns). So supporters are urged to write them. The address is: Camden County Detention Facility, P.O. Box 699, Woodbine, GA 31569.   You have to use their prisoner number after their name:

Carmen Trotta 65203

Clare Grady 65197

Patrick O’Neill 65205

Elizabeth McAlister 65198

Stephen Kelly 65201

Martha Hennessy 65206

Mark Colville 65200

To receive a phone call the recipient has to set up a prepaid account at  Amtel, 1 800 849-6081. There is a $6 charge every time you put money in account. You would also have to let the prisoner know they can call you and send them your phone number (since cellphones have cleared most of our memory). You can send money into each prisoner’s commissary via  For general support there is a Go fund me link Paper checks made out to Catholic Worker earmarked for plowshares and can be sent to : PO Box 3087 Washington DC 20010.

There has been some press coverage including local Jacksonville TV. Buddy Carter, the area congressman, called it “beyond embarrassing” that the seven were able to penetrate the highly secure base.

On Facebook there is a Kings Bay Plowshares group you have to join to be able to see. It is being superseded  by a Kings Bay Plowshares  “Page” which everyone can access. There are photos and videos and links to articles there.

The also has updated information on their website.

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