Skip to main content

Ive been awol from the army for three years, can i return to my duty station and pursue a military carreer?

Glencoe, CA |
Filed under: Military law

I went awol on my 20th birthday, shortly after having served 15 months in iraq as a cavalry scout. I hated it and though i'd never want to go back, but for the last two years I have found myself daydreaming of going back.

Currently I am on felony probation in california and I have been to jail multiple times, but have never heard a word from the military, surprisingly.

The only thing stopping me is my current employment at two good jobs. If I had a 50 percent chance or better of being able to return and pursue this idea i'd be on a grey hound bus right now.

Iran 2012, the army needs people like us to get shot at.

Attorney Answers 3


Not a chance.

A court martial/admin processing is all that awaits you in the military.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, addressing your issue does not create an attorney-client relationship and I AM NOT providing you legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

Mark as helpful

8 lawyers agree

1 comment

Rixon Charles Rafter III

Rixon Charles Rafter III


I should have added that since you seen to taking care of your other issues and successfully completing your probation, you might consider discussing with your PO, your turning yourself in to the military authorities to close out that chapter as well.


Completely agree with Attorney Rafter. Upon return you will be charged and court-martialed; or, at the very least, processed for involuntary discharge with an other than honorable (OTH) service characterization. By the way, there is no statute of limitations concerning AWOL.

Answers to posted questions are for general interest only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by virtue of any answer posted by the attorney.

Mark as helpful

5 lawyers agree


It appears there is no DD553 arrest warrant. It's likely there isn't because of your current civilian status -- the DD553 would have shown up by now. It is not uncommon for the command to fail to complete the full documentation at the 30th day of AWOL.
You will not be allowed to return to service: lengthy AWOL, and they are down-sizing. Under usual circumstances I'd tell you to voluntarily surrender at Fort Sill. That's because in about 85% of long term AWOLS they will keep you there a month to six weeks and separate you with an administrative discharge under Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH). That's never guaranteed, but the most frequent result for a surrender.
However, your situation is complicated because of your probation status. You need permission to travel, and you'll be gone and can't comply with the probation requirements. That may impact your status in California.
Bottom line, you are stuck until you are no longer on probation, and they are down-sizing because they no longer need people to be shot at in either Iraq or A/Stan.

Mark as helpful

Military law topics

Recommended articles about Military law

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics