Second Lt. Lawrence J. Franks Jr., a West Point graduate, had disappeared from Fort Drum in 2009, and at one point his battalion had searched the surrounding woods for his body.
But it turned out he had left for the French Foreign Legion, joining under an assumed name. He went on to do peacekeeping tours in the Central Africa Republic and Djibouti, and served as personal security for the commander of the French intervention against Islamist militants in Mali in 2013. After his five-year enlistment was up, he turned himself in to U.S. Army forces in Germany.
Franks said that he had suffered suicidal urges since he was a young man, and that he didn't want to wait for his U.S. Army unit to deploy. He said after joining the Legion, "Slowly, the depression went away. … I wasn't thinking of killing myself anymore." On Monday, Franks was sentenced by the Army to four years in prison for conduct unbecoming an officer and desertion. "To turn myself in was the happiest moment of my life," he said. "Now I was coming home to my family and to take responsibility for what I had done."
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — A Navy SEAL officer accused of failing to properly report alleged war crimes carried out by one of his men was arraigned on Tuesday in San Diego.
After being informed of his rights, Lt. Jacob Portier did not enter a plea or choose whether he'd ask for a jury or bench trial, since his civilian attorney has raised questions over a protective order in the case.
An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email email@example.com with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."