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What happens to people who go AWOL?
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What happens to people who go AWOL?

No, I'm not planning to do it...I was on active duty from 2000-2004 and I knew about 8 people who went AWOL permanently and only 2 ever came back. What happens to these people? Please don't be ignorant and say they went to Canada, this was recent. Do they have to live off of their parents and mow lawns the rest of their lives?

It used to be, about 30 years ago, that anyone who went AWOL was sent to military prison for a minimum of one year. Now, the military is not as strict. I understand now you can leave for any number of days and as long as you go back, fill out two weeks worth of paperwork saying you're mentally or medically discharged than you can get off scott free. Of course it doesn't look good on your resume. Help me if I'm wrong.

absent with out leave(AWOL) after 90 days considered a deserter and in wartime can be shot(no lethal injection nonsense here).I peace time if you are caught you are dishonorably discharged,forfeit all pay and allowances and depending what branch end up in some place(federal) like Leavenworth for an awful long time doing hard labor(no sitting around here).but I must add that if you did serve in the military you should have learned the military code of justice or whatever that was(I forget it was the Vietnam era for me)

The only one I ever knew went AWOL twice -- the first time they put him in a military jail. The second time (he actually escaped from the jail) they just gave him a dishonorable discharge and sent him on his way. He was still in basic, so the penalty might have been lighter for him.

depends. If he was a dirtbag, they probably won't track him down. for the record, if they don't come back, it's desertion. some people go to Amsterdam, or any country with no extradition law. Desertion is still punishable by death, I think either by hanging or firing squad.

Almighty Malachi
Some actually do go to Canada, but most live at home and resume regular lives. They must live clean lives because if their SSN gets flagged, they can be brought back to face desertion charges.

After 30 days they are listed as a 'deserter' and a warrant is issued for their arrest.

Then someday they will pass through customs or get stopped for a speeding ticket - and get thrown in jail. They get put on a bus for a military post then sit on their butts while they wait for the military to finish processing their dishonorable discharge. (And learn just how slow the military can be when they see no reason to make you happy.)

Well, they have to be very careful. If they so much as get pulled over for any reason and the cops run their drivers license then it will show that they are wanted for going AWOL. The ones that get caught get sent to military prison. Not a place any one wants to be!

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