I enlisted after 9/11 as a disillusioned gay progressive activist looking to serve the world, and for sense of direction and belonging. I'm an idealist.
If I was disillusioned when I enlisted, things were definitely made clear during my short military career; I wasn't going to serve world interests but serve corporate interests; I was getting direction, but on the opposite path I wanted to head; and I don't know why I ever thought a gay progressive activist would belong in the Marine Corps.
I had suffered in the USMC like everyone else, more so for being gay, but mostly because the training didn't work on me. I couldn't bring myself to morally justify my participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or any war.
In 2003 I became the first public Iraq War resister. I organized a press conference in front of my base declaring myself a conscientious objector and spent the majority of that year speaking out across the country.
For encouraging people in the military to think about conscientious objection, and for young people to think before they enlist I served 6 months in the brig, was demoted to private, fined, and given a bad conduct discharge.
A few months after I was released from prison, IVAW was formed and I knew from the beginning it was going to be a great organization. I had found a way to serve the world, a sense of direction and belonging all in one place.
Prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserves, Funk left University of Southern California in 2000 and traveled to the Philippines for 3 months. Upon his return, Funk moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in order to become a California resident and enroll at UC Berkley. After 9/11, Funk decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps, signing a six-year contract in February 2002. Near the end of boot camp, he shot expert at the rifle range, at 200-, 300- and 500-yards. Despite this, his instructor told him that he would not shoot as well in combat, Funk later said, "I told him he was right, because I felt killing was wrong."
His period of "unauthorized absence" lasted from February 9, 2003 to April 1, 2003. On April 1, 2003, Funk held a press conference at the main gate of San Jose Marine Reserve Base and turned himself over to military authorities. During the conference, Funk spoke to reporters and said "There is no way to justify war because you're paying with human lives." Just before being taken into custody. Funk had attempted to obtain conscientious objector status and a discharge on these grounds. He was denied by a military court. At the same time he applied for conscientious objector status, Funk also came out publicly as a gay man. In 2003, while imprisoned, he was named as one of OUT Magazine's "Out 100".