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My son just returned to Fort Benning from Christmas Exodus. He called and mentioned that some people didn't return and I guess they would be considered as AWOL. I was wondering if this is a reoccuring problem and what possibly could happen to them for not returning to duty. Are punisments the same whether or not they have completed basic training? I am glad that my son returned to finish what he has started. It must be a big decision not to return to duty. Thanks for any information.
I happened to be in Basic during the same time of year and went home for Exodus. I don't recall people not coming back but I do recall we lost a few from my company for testing positive on the pee tests we did when we got back from leave. Those individuals were around after the test results just long enough to clean out their wall lockers, turn in blankets, and turn in their field gear.
My NG unit sent me to Ft. Eustis for BNOC and there was a kid their who had gone AWOL for something close to 6+ months. The Army had contacted his family and told them they just wanted him to come back so they could give him a discharge. He fell for it and after spending a few weeks in the custody of the MP's he was recycled back into a class at a time period just before he had left. He was confined to base and lost most of his pay. Don't know what ended up happening to him after he finished school, but I think he figured out that running away wasn't really a way out. :animlol:
I was told the quickest way out is graduation, and its true. Yes, I have heard about people going on exodus and not coming back, and they are considered awol. Don't get your name ran by the cops, or you'll end up back where you started lol.
I guess I really didn't think of the police/military connection. I assumed that what was military, stayed in the military. I am not very learned in the the military ways. It makes you wonder how a person could stay missing for six months without someone saying something. I would assume that the Army would never go away until business was finished. Very proud of my son for sticking it out. He is either supposed to go to Wainwright or Richardson with the 172 Strykers.
The people who didn't show up are now listed in the NCIC database as wanted and they will be arrested if the police happen to run them through, such as for a traffic stop. When they are arrested they will be turned back over to the military, locked up in a confinement facility and, eventually, processed out with some level of negative discharge.
Kids just don't realize that if you do something stupid in the military and you get any punishment heavier than an Article 15 (Non-judicial punishment) it is a FEDERAL FELONY OFFENSE and if found guilty it will follow you the rest of your life. In my 23 years of service I talked to a good number of soldiers who 'just wanted out, period'. They were willing to do anything - assault a fellow soldier, do drugs, drive drunk - to get kicked out. I always counseled them to keep their noses clean and just serve their time. Most kids sign up for only three years, and it isn't until about the end of the first year they figure out they hate the military. I told them that anyone can stand just about anything for two years and walking away with that Honorable Discharge will be well worth the effort. Most listened, but a few figured they were smarter than me. They quickly found out what a General or Less Than Honorable Discharge means in the real world.
Edited to add: I actually had one of these soldiers call me about a year after he was chaptered out and given a less than honorable discharge. He was trying to get his discharge upgraded to Honorable and wanted me to write a statement to the VA explaining the circumstances of his service. Before I gave him my answer he went on to say that acting stupid in that Army was, in retrospect, one of the worst things he had done in his short life. He couldn't get a decent job and he was turned down for federal student loans. To close the conversation I told him that I would not reward his stupidity by supporting his request for a Honorable Discharge but that if he kept his nose clean and worked hard he would probably overcome this mistake. He proceeded to call me a "******* son of a *****", that I was his last hope and that what had happened to him in the Army was not his fault. I just hung up. Kids like him just never learn. I suspect by now he's a guest of the New York State penal system.
We had one not come back. She had decided that she wanted out, but her folks tracked her down and put her on the plane.
The first morning after she made it back to the company, Top called her to the front of the formation before PT. She and her poor battle show up in front of Top and a couple of the Drills.
Top procedes to chew her ass for a couple of minutes right in front of my platoon (I was the platoon guide). Finally Derr says, "I refuse to train." Top tells her to get back into formation. Derr, once again, "I refuse to train first sergeant!"
The first sergeant is about to come unglued at this point. I thought that he was gonna blow a vein in his forehead. "I SAID GET INTO FORMATION!"
And this is what gets her arrested (during MP OSUT no less), "I refuse to train, first sergeant. DID I ****ING STUTTER?!"
For a second I almost snorted out loud while I was trying to keep from laughing. Then, the thought that Top might really kill me if I did that, stopped me cold. The two drills went back inside so that the first sergeant couldn't see them, and fell down laughing.
My platoon could see them through the window from our angle.
Anyway, long story short, she went for disrespecting an NCO, failure to obey a lawful order, and something to do with failing her UA.
They held her over until after we graduated. Reduced in pay and rank, as well as restricted to B's unless it was to follow us to training, and extra duty. I think all that's right anyway.
Had one or two in my AIT company that did that. They end up with a federal felony arrest warrant, revoked driver's license, and whatever else they can do to get them back (including stopping pay, and possibly freezing their bank account). It tends to be more of a problem in Basic, though, especially in the earlier stages of it. Also, if they're gone for more than 30 days, they're counted as a deserter, and do some "confinement" in a military jail (mainly either at Ft. Knox or Ft. Leavenworth), then get recycled back through the training. Just a lose-lose situation.
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