Howard Petrick's personal history reflects his commitments to issues of civil liberties. ... [In 1965, Petrick was] arrested for selling anti-war literature without a peddler's license, he decided to test this law which had not been used for decades. However, he was drafted before the court date.
In the army, while earning top conduct and efficiency ratings, Petrick continued to speak against the war. In 1967 his arrest at Fort Hood, Texas, for organizing among GI's became a test case for the rights of military personnel to freedom of speech. The army, charging him with disloyal statements but unable to cite infractions, backed down, then started investigations of Petrick's activities. With these charges pending, and after General Westmoreland had spoken, in uniform, in favor of the war, Petrick, in uniform, addressed an anti-war conference on the subject of growing anti-war mood in the army. Petrick's defense committee appealed on civil liberties issues to a broad base and generated sufficient publicity to prevent a court-martial, but Petrick was given an undesirable discharge in 1968. He sued the government, toured nationally, speaking about his case and fund-raising. In 1971, he received an honorable discharge consistent with his military record.
Petrick's photographic work, mainly photojournalism, has been represented by the Nancy Palmer Agency and has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Newsweek and Time.
... He received a BFA with Honors [from the San Francisco Art Institute] in 1978, one year after beginning his film, THE CASE OF THE LEGLESS VETERAN.
Petrick is a native of Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and has lived in San Francisco for the last eight years.