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AWOL? Deserter? Here are the FACTS. [View All]

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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 08:24 AM
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AWOL? Deserter? Here are the FACTS.
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Edited on Sat Jan-03-04 08:24 AM by trof
This cropped up again on another thread.
I first posted the following about a year ago. They are the facts as I know them and have researched them on the web. It is NOT an apologia for bush*, just an explanation of the circumstances and situation.

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
(3) Members of a reserve component while on inactive-duty training, but in the case of members of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States only when in Federal Service.

Bush* was not in Federal Service, thus not subject to UCMJ, and therefore not AWOL or a deserter under UCMJ.

However, from the Texas Code of Military Justice, which Bush* "may have been" (see below) subject to says:

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 147, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. 432.130. Desertion
(a) A member of the state military forces is guilty of desertion if the member:
(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away permanently;
(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or
(3) without being regularly separated from one of the state military forces, enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another of the state military forces, or in one of the armed forces of the United States, without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated.
(b) A commissioned officer of the state military forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away permanently is guilty of desertion.
(c) A person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished as a court-martial directs.

Bush* was certainly in violation of one or more of these sections, but notice the law was passed in 1987, well after he was out of the guard. So far, I can find no information as to what the law was when Bush* was in the TANG.

I was a pilot in the ALANG 1963-1972. I can find no documentation of Alabama military regulations on the web, but here's what I know to be true from personal experience:
When I joined the guard to be trained as a pilot I signed an agreement, a "contract" if you will. Upon successful completion of USAF pilot training, I was committed for six years of service in the Alabama Air National Guard (ALANG). Pilot training lasted a little over a year, so my basic obligation was for seven years.

If I had done exactly the same thing bush* did, skipped out and not shown up for required drills and Flight Training Periods (FTPs)
1. I would have been located/contacted (if possible) by a superior officer on an "unofficial" level and asked about my absence. In reality, it would have been unthinkable for me or any of my squadron mates to just drop out of sight without any prior communication with my squadron or wing as to a reason for this.
2. If I had no satisfactory explanation I would be required to meet with an evaluation board of senior officers to explain my actions. If necessary, I would have been taken into custody by military police.
3. Now it gets "official" If the board found I had no acceptable excuse, they could offer three options.
a. I could make up the missed periods, possibly by extending my obligation.
b. If I was unwilling to do this, I could have been assigned to "involuntary active duty" (essentially "drafted"), probably into the Army, as a private, for a period not to exceed the balance of my obligation. At the time, that was a ticket straight to Viet Nam.
c. If I refused, I could be sent to jail for the balance of my obligation, probably to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.

You can see why it was in my best interest to show up each and every time with a shine on my boots and a smile on my face. That bush* was able to shirk his obligation with absolutely no penalty angers me. It was wrong, and he should have paid, but he didn't. He had the right connections and he got off scot free. We can bemoan the fact, and wail and gnash our teeth, but there's no way (that I know of) that this wrong can be righted. I won't "get over it", but I can move on. We can publicize this as much as possible, but he will never be brought up on criminal charges over it. Periodically someone discovers for the first time and thinks "Aha!". Well, I'm glad you learned about it. Go tell others, for whatever that's worth. But don't think you will ever see bush* in a court of law, military or civilian, because of this.
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