Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Hell, CPT Patti had a soldier go AWOL just before deployment. He's been DFR'd (Dropped From the Rolls) by now, but this guy is now a fugitive, and it's just a matter of time before a passport scan, a speeding ticket or an employment application background check gives him up.

Those who fail to return make life hard on themselves.

Not to mention they've let their buddies down.

So right now there is a 2% late-return rate with the R&R program...or, put another way, a 98% on-time return rate.

Did 98% of the employees in your office arrive on time this morning?
More than 30 soldiers who came home from Iraq for two weeks of leave have failed to show up for their flights back to the combat zone, military officials said yesterday.

The soldiers, among more than 1,300 troops so far in the first large-scale home leave program since Vietnam, have yet to be declared absent without leave -- a violation of military law, said Army Col. Paris Mack, the Pentagon official overseeing the program.

A week after return flights began, 28 soldiers had not made it to Baltimore-Washington International Airport for the journey back to Iraq, said Air Force Maj. Mike Escudie, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in Tampa. Six others did not make yesterday evening's flight out of BWI for unknown reasons, said Lt. Col. Robert Hagen, an Army spokesman.

"Many of them are understandable due to illnesses or canceled airline flights," Escudie said. One soldier was unable to board his flight to BWI because he lost his wallet, while another had a sick baby, Hagen said.

But a military advocacy group cited two cases in which service members called to say they do not want to return to the long and difficult mission in Iraq.

"Ultimately, every one of these cases will be looked into and there will be a determination if there are any mitigating circumstances," said Marine Maj. Pete Mitchell, a Central Command spokesman.

Mack said the soldiers who have missed their flights are "definitely a concern," but she added that the Army had anticipated that some soldiers would not return, and that the numbers thus far are small.

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