21 September 2004

Sgt Jenkins's Trial for Desertion

CNN reports:
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (AP) -- The U.S. Army is preparing for its biggest desertion trial in decades following the surrender of Sgt. Charles Robert Jenkins, wanted for allegedly abandoning his patrol nearly 40 years ago and becoming a North Korean propaganda tool.

But while publicity is guaranteed, the prosecution might have a hard time winning the case, experts say. And if Jenkins does a plea bargain, as is widely expected, he may suffer nothing worse than a dishonorable discharge.

Jenkins has been living at this base just southwest of Tokyo with his Japanese wife and two North Korea-born daughters since he surrendered on September 11.
My last assignment in the U.S. Army was at a Personnel Control Facility (aka "brig") where a surprising proportion of the inmates were trying to get a dishonorable discharge by deserting three times (going AWOL for over 30 days each time). Unfortunately, their local sheriffs often turned them over to the military (for a bounty, it was rumored) before the 30 days had expired. It took a lot longer than getting 3 purple hearts, of course, but it was a good bit safer route.

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