Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interesting article on deserters

We've previously discussed the phenomenon of Canada deporting U.S. servicemembers who deserted and tried to remain in Canada. (See here, here, here, and here.) On NIMJ's web site, we noticed this interesting article from the Broward-Palm Beach New Times on the deserter issue. The article includes some particularly interest statistics. Note this passage:

More than 15,000 soldiers have deserted the Army since 2003, and most are thought to be living in the United States, keeping a low profile and trying to avoid a traffic ticket or anything else that would alert authorities to their presence. Army spokesmen stress that just 1 percent of all soldiers desert and that the problem is not large enough to warrant pursuing them for prosecution. Still, desertion rates have nearly doubled, rising from 2,610 in 2003 to 4,698 in 2007, and military records show a crackdown on deserters since the war in Iraq began. In 2001 and 2007, for instance, roughly 4,500 soldiers deserted each year. But while in 2001 only 29 deserters were prosecuted, in 2007 that figure was 108.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that in this context the term "deserter" means someone who has been AWOL for more than 30 days and who has been dropped from the rolls (DFR'd) and had a military warrant put out for their arrest.

The vast majority of these deserters are trainees (either Basic or AIT) rather than soldiers that have deployed or are pending deployment.

Prosecuting a kid who went home from Ft. Leonard Wood on Xmas Exodus and never back isn't quite the same as a guy that left his deployed unit. Since the majority of "deserters" are the former, they typically receive discharges in lieu of Court-Martial (Chapter 10s).