Saturday, March 24, 2007

Army revises upward number of desertions last year

Left: Lance Hering, a 21-year old Marine lance corporal, staged his own disappearance in August of last year with the help of a friend, who claimed Hering had fallen 30 feet during a rock climb. Videotape later showed Hering had boarded a bus in Denver 3 hours before the alleged fall. Hering is still missing.

A soldier is considered a deserter if he leaves his post without permission, quits his unit or fails to report for duty with the intent of staying away permanently. AWOL soldiers are automatically classified as deserters if they remain away for more than 30 days.

A total of 3,196 active-duty soldiers deserted the Army last year, or 853 more than previously reported, according to revised figures from the Army.

The new calculations by the Army, which had about 500,000 active-duty troops at the end of 2006, significantly alter the annual desertion totals since the 2000 fiscal year.

In 2005, for example, the Army now says 2,543 soldiers deserted, not the 2,011 it had reported. For some earlier years, the desertion numbers were revised downward.

Read the rest at the NY Times