FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- When U.S. Army Sgt. Derrick Jones came face to face with being shipped off to Saudi Arabia, he decided he could not fight and he could not kill. He applied for conscientious-objector status.

On Christmas night, his unit was ordered to report for imminent deployment to the Persian Gulf. Jones went AWOL. From hiding, he got a lawyer and called his captain.

The next day, shortly before his unit was to ship out, the Army offered Jones a deal. According to taped conversations made available to The Washington Post, Jones's captain told the soldier that if he returned to his unit, he would face discipline for leaving his unit, but "No problem. ... You will not fly."

When Jones arrived six hours later, military police handcuffed him and forced him onto a bus heading for Rhein-Main Air Base and a direct trip to Saudi Arabia, according to Jones's wife and an Army spokesman. Jones went into shock. His wife, Karen, had no idea her husband had left the country.

The Jones case is the most dramatic of several recent incidents in which members of the armed forces who have decided to seek conscientious-objector status rather than join the U.S. military in the Persian Gulf have faced official discouragement, vanishing paperwork or forced deployment, according to soldiers, family members and religious counselors in Germany.

According to an Army statement provided to The Post, "to the best of the knowledge" of the executive officer of Jones's unit, the 518th Infantry, "at no time was {Jones's} lawyer or Jones told that he would not have to deploy." The statement said Jones's lawyer was told that although AWOL charges could not be dropped, "the unit would do everything possible to ensure it did not scar any future plans the soldier may have."

Army spokesmen in Germany said the number of new conscientious-objector claims and soldiers who have left their units rather than go to the gulf is small. Exact figures, they said, are not available.

Other sources indicate that the number of objector and AWOL cases has increased sharply in the past three months. Since the beginning of Operation Desert Shield in August, the Military Counseling Network, a group of U.S. Mennonite Church workers in Germany, has helped more than 50 service members apply for objector status and has advised more than 500 other soldiers. By comparison, the group handled only eight objector cases in the previous four years.

Andre Stoner, a Mennonite counselor, said he knows of at least 25 service members in hiding in Germany because they refused to accompany their units to the gulf. German anti-war groups say they have helped "tens" of AWOL U.S. soldiers. In a taped conversation, Jones's captain said his unit had "a series of AWOLS."

"Every day we get calls from new people," Stoner said. "We've been here for four years, and for most of that time soldiers wouldn't talk to us. Now there are a lot of individuals doing real soul-searching, trying to figure out what to do."

Army spokesman Manfred Pohl said claims received in recent weeks are generally not the result of serious philosophical objections to war. "All of a sudden, when there's a chance of hostilities, they're conscientious objectors?" he said. "I don't think so."

Under Army rules, once a unit has been alerted that it will be deployed elsewhere, soldiers may seek conscientious-objector status only after they reach their new location. Spokesman Jim Boyle said that is why Jones and other objectors were taken to Saudi Arabia against their wishes.

Army spokeswoman Sgt. Elaine Venema said officers may order handcuffs and other restraints to be used against anyone resisting deployment "if that is the only way you can possibly get the body from Point A to Point B to meet mission."

Applications for objector status are being processed as quickly as possible, even if service members are in the gulf, according to the Army.

At least two other Germany-based U.S. service members have been taken to the gulf against their will.

Bryan Centa, an Army medic, was handcuffed and shackled before being placed on a bus to the airport for his flight to Saudi Arabia Jan. 3, his wife said after speaking to her husband in Saudi Arabia. In the gulf, the soldier is refusing to work on his attorney's advice.

An Army spokesman told the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung he could neither confirm nor deny that Centa's hands and feet were in irons when he was transported.

Stacie Centa, interviewed from her home in Lakewood, Ohio, said her husband, who filed for objector status last month, entered active duty in October only after his recruiter in Ohio had promised Centa that he would serve his entire tour in Germany and would not be sent to the gulf. "I was standing right there when he said it," Stacie Centa said. "We made the mistake of taking him at his word."

In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer hours before he was taken to the gulf, Bryan Centa, 20, said: "When my daughter was born {three months ago} I realized it was the greatest gift God could give. War is wrong because there are other ways to solve things."

Spec. David Carson, 25, a medic in the 47th Infantry, decided he was opposed to violence a year ago, but did not file for objector status until after he learned his unit was going to the gulf. When his unit was deployed Dec. 26 -- six days after he filed his application -- Carson was pushed onto the transport bus by four other soldiers, according to Kerstin Sommer, Carson's girlfriend, who spoke to Carson the following day.

"Like most GIs, going in, he thought it would never come to war," Sommer said.

In a letter his girlfriend received this week, Carson said he has been required to move into the Saudi desert with his unit and complained that his objector application is being processed slowly and that he was beaten by a fellow soldier.

An Army spokesman disputed Carson's claim, saying that "everybody who would know what happened to him has already deployed to the gulf."

The Army confirmed that it has declared as a deserter a sergeant who left her unit to avoid serving in Saudi Arabia. Sgt. Faith Grasso, 29, left her job as a wire installer a week before her 1st Signal Battalion went to the gulf in December. Grasso, an eight-year veteran, had told superiors that she was considering filing for objector status. "She seems to have gone AWOL to avoid imminent-danger service, and that is desertion under Army regulations," a spokesman said.

Objectors who have not been transferred to the gulf said they had encountered resistance from commanders who delayed processing claims or said they had lost their applications for objector status.

One soldier said his commanding officer told him he ripped up the soldier's objector application. Another said his officer threatened to charge him with fraudulent enlistment. Another commander, Stoner said, told troops that anyone who filed for objector status would be court-martialed.

Army spokesman Venema said soldiers who want to seek objector status are counseled about the impact such a move could have on their rights and benefits. But "they are not to be encouraged or discouraged in any way."

"First, they lost my whole package," said Airman Henry Spielberger of the 36th Security Police Squadron in Bitburg, Germany. "That was in June. I submitted again in September and reapplied in October." In December, Spielberger was notified that his case was recommended for approval; he is still awaiting a final decision.

In the meantime, he said he has been assigned menial physical work. Spielberger, 20, said he was stripped of his weapon and security clearance within days after the Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper, published an anti-war letter he had written.

"Then, when there were stories about me in the German press, the command banned me from signing visitors onto the base," Spielberger said. In January, he received a letter of reprimand from Capt. Harold Kouns. Kouns said a photograph of Spielberger that had appeared in German newspapers showed the airman "seemingly condoning anti-U.S. policies in the Persian Gulf area," an act that Kouns called a violation of the Code of Military Justice.

Derrick Jones joined the Army four years ago and reenlisted because his wife was pregnant and he needed the steady income and benefits, his wife said. According to the application for objector status Jones filed Dec. 16, the 26-year-old North Dakotan "never really thought about what war was like when I enlisted in the Army, because we were at peace."

Jones turned against his own career choice while attending a training course during the U.S. invasion of Panama in December 1989. At Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Jones watched soldiers wounded in Panama being taken off ambulances.

"It was then that I took 'Thou shalt not kill' to heart," Jones wrote. "The soul-searching that I have done and the scripture studying I have done since the Panama conflict has led me to believe that my participation in this war or any war is something that I cannot do because one day I will have to stand before God and answer for my actions."

"I still have his dog tags and his medical records," said Karen Jones, the soldier's wife, who is still living in military housing in Wildflecken, Germany, with the couple's 16-month-old daughter, Sadie. "If anything happens to Derrick, no one will even know who he is. He never got to say goodbye to me or to Sadie. I don't even know if he's okay. His friends said when the police cuffed him, he just sat there in shock, rocking back and forth."

Jones's captain called Karen Jones several hours after her husband was taken to Saudi Arabia. He said her husband would be safe and kept in the rear of his unit; military regulations require that objector applicants be assigned "duties providing minimum practicable conflict with their asserted beliefs."

But Karen Jones said she has no reason to believe such assurances. "Everything they've said so far was a lie," she said. "I still can't believe it. They promised him he wouldn't have to go and they just took him."

She said the captain told her that the deal he had offered had been overruled by a superior officer.

In a taped conversation that morning, Jones's civilian lawyer said that both the soldier's colonel and a military lawyer had promised him that "as long as you go in {turn yourself in}, you won't be going on the movement."

Both the colonel and the military lawyer were in the gulf area and not available for comment, Army spokesmen said.

Since the war began, Jones has called and written his wife, telling her that he is being ordered to carry a weapon despite his objector application and that he was fined and assigned extra duty as punishment for having left his unit.