A U.S. Army deserter who was expelled from Canada earlier this week is being escorted back to his post under police guard Friday.
Private first class Robin Long is originally from Boise. Peace activists from Bellingham held a vigil to oppose his transfer to Army custody from the county jail. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on what happens next.
A spokesman for the Army’s Desertion Information Center says the punishment for the Boise native could fall within a wide range.
At the light end: reprimand and return to duty. At the severe end: court martial and jail time.
This according to the Army’s Ryan Bruce.
Ryan Bruce: “It would be treated more seriously if a soldier did desert his or her unit during a time of war, especially if that unit was at war or going to war, as opposed to a soldier who just deserted from initial entry training, for instance.”
Private Long fled to Canada to avoid deployment to Iraq. His unit went to war and has since returned to Fort Carson, Colorado.
Instructive perhaps is the sentence handed down this week to a soldier from Eugene. Pfc. James Burmeister fled to Canada while on leave from his unit in Iraq. He got six months in jail after returning voluntarily to face punishment.