Thursday, August 16, 2007

Soldier who fought fifth deployment to war deemed medically unfit

Erik Botta had already served one tour in Afghanistan and three tours in Iraq when he was called up again.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Florida reservist who asked federal courts to block the Army from sending him to Iraq on a fifth deployment was excused from active service after being found medically unfit. He is still seeking an honorable discharge to prevent another call-up, according to his lawyer...

To avoid being listed as AWOL, Botta reported July 15 to Fort Jackson, S.C., while his petition for relief from the deployment was pending in federal court in Florida.

During his routine medical exam, Waple said, the physician “asked if Erik had any unresolved legal issues you hoped to get resolved before you go,” then told the young soldier, “‘I am determining you are no longer medically fit for worldwide deployment.’”

Botta’s release “certainly happened under very peculiar circumstances,” Waple said.

It’s clear, Waple said, that the medical discharge “was a way for the Army to avoid having to explain their position” in federal court.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes

Related Link:
Army Reservist wins fight against fifth combat deployment

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Reservist suing to stop 5th tour reports for duty

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Perspective: Reservist fighting call-up for fifth tour