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Navy Desertion: A Sign of a Bigger Problem?

Navy Desertion

Much has been written about the recent rash of desertions from the Military, although the Navy seems most affected. In 2021, 157 sailors deserted, risking fairly severe consequences. In addition to loss of pay and benefits, the Sailor is subject to earning a dishonorable discharge and even prison time. Since the Army, Air Force, Marines nor the Coast Guard reported anywhere near these losses, desertions from the Navy may indicate a broader issue.

Last year, a water contamination crisis caused thousands of service members and their families to be uprooted from their homes in Hawaii and the problem took weeks to resolve. Also last year, Sailors interviewed by the Navy Times told stories about being forced to live without even the most fundamental necessities at the Barracks at Naval Support Activity, Bethesda. The barracks were lacking air conditioning throughout the hot months of summer, there was no running water available, and there was no way to secure their residence doors, either for privacy or to prevent incursions.

At Naval Air Station, Key West, Sailors were required to seek out lodging on their own when the Navy decided to close down the barracks for major repairs. Most widely publicized, Sailors aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON were forced to live onboard during major construction. The living conditions were found to be abhorrent and forced the Navy to provide the entire crew with adequate accommodations off-ship, but only after an extreme uptick in suicides got Congressional attention.

In addition to the uptick of desertions, the Navy is separating a record number of (mostly) junior Sailors with “adjustment disorder” discharges. This permits the Navy to discharge a Sailor on the word of one medical professional who often doesn’t even meet with the Sailor before making the diagnosis of “adjustment disorder,” which results in the Sailor being separated with a less than honorable discharge, depriving the Sailor of the GI Bill and other education benefits from the VA.

If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties while on active duty, please reach out to a Chaplain or counselor to get help. If you need to be released from the Navy, there are lawful and POSSIBLE ways short of discharge. Click here to learn more about these options or please reach out to an experienced military attorney for help. At KML, we would be honored to discuss your options during a free consultation. 

Similarly, if you’re being forced out by the Navy with an “adjustment disorder.” Give us a call and let us help.

And if you’re considering suicide, please let someone help:

www. KingMilitaryLaw.com

~~Where Experience Matters Most~~

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