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Orange County Bar Association

AWOL (Away Without Leave – Military)

About 20 years ago I enlisted in the United States Military; during an early phase of training I was injured to the degree I could no longer serve. As such, I was removed from training and placed into a platoon of similarly situated persons who were pending discharge. I grew extremely frustrated with the medical care I was receiving and the delays in the process as time went on. At that point I decided to leave prior to actually being discharged. To that end I left my gear behind and just walked away without permission from the military authorities. Twenty years later I had married, I have several children and a business. While I should have known that there would be consequences for what I did, I pushed it out of mind and went about my life. However, while obtaining a license for my business I learned I had a federal warrant out for my arrest for leaving the military without permission twenty years previous. While perhaps I should have expected a warrant to be issued it still came as quite a shock. I was concerned about what would happen if I was arrested suddenly and the effect on my wife and children who rely on me to run the business. I contacted Attorney Will Bruzzo. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Major and Marine Judge Advocate who has been practicing military criminal law for over 20 years. Mr. Bruzzo agreed to take my case and he told me what I could expect. He told me that I would need to surrender myself to the military authorities (with him present) and that he would then work with the Military to effectuate my discharge as soon as possible. Mr. Bruzzo made arrangements with the Command to surrender me then helped orchestrate the paperwork necessary to get me out. I was concerned with being punished for going AWOL but Mr. Bruzzo told me from the beginning that in my situation the military was not interested in punishing me and would just move to get me out as quickly as the bureaucratic process allowed... Date: 10/4/16


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