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S0Noma
11-18-2007, 07:19 AM
By LOLITA C. BALDOR


WASHINGTON (AP) - Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War, when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past four years and a 42 percent jump since last year.

"We're asking a lot of soldiers these days," said Roy Wallace, director of plans and resources for Army personnel. "They're humans. They have all sorts of issues back home and other places like that. So, I'm sure it has to do with the stress of being a soldier."

The Army defines a deserter as someone who has been absent without leave for longer than 30 days. The soldier is then discharged as a deserter.

According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared to 3,301 last year.

The increase comes as the Army continues to bear the brunt of the war demands with many soldiers serving repeated, lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military leaders - including Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey - have acknowledged that the Army has been stretched nearly to the breaking point by the combat. Efforts are under way to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps to lessen the burden and give troops more time off between deployments.

"We have been concentrating on this," said Wallace. "The Army can't afford to throw away good people. We have got to work with those individuals and try to help them become good soldiers."

Still, he noted that "the military is not for everybody, not everybody can be a soldier." And those who want to leave the service will find a way to do it, he said.

While the Army does not have an up-to-date profile of deserters, more than 75 percent of them are soldiers in their first term of enlistment. And most are male.

Soldiers can sign on initially for two to six years. Wallace said he did not know whether deserters were more likely to be those who enlisted for a short or long tour.

At the same time, he said that even as desertions have increased, the Army has seen some overall success in keeping first-term soldiers in the service.

There are four main ways that soldiers can leave the Army before their first enlistment contract is up:

_They are determined unable to meet physical fitness requirements.

_They are found to be unable to adapt to the military.

_They say they are gay and are required to leave under the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

_They go AWOL.

According to Wallace, in the summer of 2005, more than 18 percent of the soldiers in their first six months of service left under one of those four provisions. In June 2007, that number had dropped to about 7 percent.

The decline, he said, is largely due to a drop in the number of soldiers who leave due to physical fitness or health reasons.

Army desertion rates have fluctuated since the Vietnam War - when they peaked at 5 percent. In the 1970s they hovered between 1 and 3 percent, which is up to three out of every 100 soldiers. Those rates plunged in the 1980s and early 1990s to between 2 and 3 out of every 1,000 soldiers.

Desertions began to creep up in the late 1990s into the turn of the century, when the U.S. conducted an air war in Kosovo and later sent peacekeeping troops there.

The numbers declined in 2003 and 2004, in the early years of the Iraq war, but then began to increase steadily.

In contrast, the Navy has seen a steady decline in deserters since 2001, going from 3,665 that year to 1,129 in 2007.

The Marine Corps, meanwhile, has seen the number of deserters stay fairly stable over that timeframe - with about 1,000 deserters a year. During 2003 and 2004 - the first two years of the Iraq war - the number of deserters fell to 877 and 744, respectively.

The Air Force can tout the fewest number of deserters - with no more than 56 bolting in each of the past five years. The low was in fiscal 2007, with just 16 deserters.

Despite the continued increase in Army desertions, however, an Associated Press examination of Pentagon figures earlier this year showed that the military does little to find those who bolt, and rarely prosecutes the ones they find. Some are allowed to simply return to their units, while most are given less-than-honorable discharges.

"My personal opinion is the only way to stop desertions is to change the climate ... how they are living and doing what they need to do," said Wallace, adding that good officers and more attention from Army leaders could "go a long way to stemming desertions."

Unlike those in the Vietnam era, deserters from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may not find Canada a safe haven.

Just this week, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of two Army deserters who sought refugee status to avoid the war in Iraq. The ruling left them without a legal basis to stay in Canada and dealt a blow to other Americans in similar circumstances.

The court, as is usual, did not provide a reason for the decision.

---

On the Net:

U.S. Army: http://www.us.army.mil

U.S. Navy: http://www.navy.mil

U.S. Air Force: http://www.af.mil

U.S. Marines: http://www.usmc.mil


web page (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20071116/D8SV1IUO1.html)

nAz
11-18-2007, 12:54 PM
ya read this surprise it has been on the news. faux had a blurb about it i think. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif


now this is simply a classic...
http://i11.tinypic.com/8fodw8w.jpg

pooltchr
11-19-2007, 05:08 AM
5% desertion rate during Viet Nam...2 to 3 percent in the 80's...and less than one percent now. Yet they make it sound like it's terrible. Looks to me like it's still pretty low.
Steve

LWW
11-19-2007, 05:12 AM
When all you need is bad news, any will do.

LWW

SKennedy
11-19-2007, 10:07 AM
Not sure we can compare today's Army to that from the early 70's and earlier. I have a league teammate, a young man, who is (was) in the Army Reserves. The Army "lost" his "file - records" and because of that, he basically doesn't exist and therefore was not getting paid. He continued to report for duty as scheduled, but after several months of no pay, he decided to quit showing for duty. He tried to work it out (lack of pay) but to no avail. Of course, his superiors told him he had to continue to serve or else...and his response was how can you punish me when I technically don't exist? He has been out now for over a year. Several times he has tried to rectify the situation but has given up. I have tried to warn him that he may end up in the brig, but he claims that will not happen and that the Army of today is nothing like it was when I was in the service. I just tell him that when and if he finally gets picked up by "Sailor Sam" to give me a call and I'll try to help him. In the "old" days you served....pay or no pay didn't matter. And today's pay is much better..... When I served it amounted to about $0.24/hour. My teammate is a nice young man. But in the old days, he'd better have his butt headed to Canada.

nAz
11-19-2007, 11:38 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> 5% desertion rate during Viet Nam...2 to 3 percent in the 80's...and less than one percent now. Yet they make it sound like it's terrible. Looks to me like it's still pretty low.
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

well actually Steve it is very terrible, it's extremely high when compared to Vietnam rates... especially when you figure in that during the Vietnam war there was a draft. if there was one now the rate would probably go pass 8 percent.

pooltchr
11-19-2007, 06:42 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nAz:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> 5% desertion rate during Viet Nam...2 to 3 percent in the 80's...and less than one percent now. Yet they make it sound like it's terrible. Looks to me like it's still pretty low.
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

well actually Steve it is very terrible, it's extremely high when compared to Vietnam rates... especially when you figure in that during the Vietnam war there was a draft. if there was one now the rate would probably go pass 8 percent. <hr /></blockquote>

How do you explain the fact that it less than one third what it was in the 80's? There was no draft then.
Steve

nAz
11-19-2007, 07:03 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr>
How do you explain the fact that it less than one third what it was in the 80's? There was no draft then.
Steve
<hr /></blockquote>

Not sure Steve probably Reagan scared them... i'll have to look into it.

Either way there was just under 4700 desertions in 2006 and that number was up over 40 percent from the year before, 80 percent since the 80s. at the end of this year (fiscal) im sure the percentage will be even higher.
so thats what 80 out of every 1000 solider? might not seem like a lot but defiantly something is going wrong here, probably combat stress and the fact that they are being kept there longer than they were told they would.

pooltchr
11-20-2007, 04:53 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nAz:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr>
How do you explain the fact that it less than one third what it was in the 80's? There was no draft then.
Steve
<hr /></blockquote>

Not sure Steve probably Reagan scared them... i'll have to look into it.

Either way there was just under 4700 desertions in 2006 and that number was up over 40 percent from the year before, 80 percent since the 80s. at the end of this year (fiscal) im sure the percentage will be even higher.
so thats what 80 out of every 1000 solider? <font color="red">According to the article, it is 9 out of every 1000...less than 1%. That means 99% stay. That tells me our soldiers are committed to getting the job done. And the Army has the highest rate...the other branches are even lower. All in all, it looks like the desertion rate is pretty low. You will always have a small minority of mis-fits that just can't handle military life. </font color> might not seem like a lot but defiantly something is going wrong here, <font color="red"> Not much different than any other time in recent history. Military life is difficult. Most can handle it, but there are always some who just can't adjust. Most of them are in their first 6 months, so very few of them have had the opportunity to have any deployment extended. </font color> probably combat stress and the fact that they are being kept there longer than they were told they would. <hr /></blockquote>
<font color="red"> Steve </font color>

LWW
11-20-2007, 05:05 AM
Here's the reason, you are wrong.

LWW