Monday, December 6, 2004
Eight soldiers are challenging the Army's policy requiring them to serve longer than the terms of their enlistment contracts. In a lawsuit being filed Monday in federal court, the soldiers are seeking a judge's order requiring the Army to immediately release them from service. "The Army made an agreement with me and I expected them to honor it," said David Qualls, one of the plaintiffs. He signed up in July 2003 for a one-year stint in the Arkansas National Guard but has been told he will remain on active duty in Iraq until next year.
Under the Pentagon's "stop-loss" program, the Army can extend enlistments during war or national emergencies as a way to promote continuity and cohesiveness. [...]
The policy, invoked in June, could keep tens of thousands of personnel in the military beyond their expected departure. The policy was also used during the buildup to the 1991 Gulf War.
The lawsuit contends the policy is a breach of the service contract because it extends the length of service without a soldier's consent. It also alleges the contracts were misleading because they make no reference to the policy, said Staughton Lynd, an attorney for the soldiers.
See Brett Potter's Oct. 14 JFP story about the "stop-loss" policy and the draft.
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