Army Reservist Won’t Face 5th War Tour
Posted Jul 31, 2007 1:37 PM CST
By Martha Neil
A 26-year-old U.S. Army Reserve sergeant facing his fifth war-zone deployment has been given a reprieve after he filed suit in federal court in Florida.
Erik Botta contended that the military's denial of his request for an exemption constituted "unlawful custody," and that it should be required to consider his three prior stints in Iraq and service in Afghanistan "to assure a sharing of exposure to the hazards of combat," reports the St. Petersburg Times.
An army spokeswoman said it takes 12 months of continuous wartime deployment to qualify for an exemption, and that Botta had only served 10 noncontinuous months. However, after Botta filed his petition July 12, the military determined that he was "not medically qualified" for continued duty, the Times says.
This surprised Botta, who has never claimed to have a medical problem. The Port St. Lucie resident is now pursuing an honorable discharge.