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Soldier AWOL since ’98 faces discipline

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FORT DRUM — A soldier who allegedly went absent without leave from Fort Drum 13 years ago is back with his unit on post, Fort Drum officials said.

Pvt. Lamar Lawshe, a supply clerk with the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, is accused of going AWOL in 1998. An ongoing investigation into the desertion charge is being conducted and Lt. Col. Webster M. Wright, division public affairs officer, said the case will be addressed by a court-martial.

“The chain of command will look at the series of paperwork, the history of the case — it will all be looked at in its totality and a decision will be made,” Col. Wright said. “He is still a soldier; he has not been discharged. He is back with his unit.”

If Pvt. Lawshe is found guilty of deserting the Army, he could face a maximum penalty of dishonorable discharge and up to three years of confinement.

He is being represented by the Federal Practice Group, Washington, D.C., and, according a news release, “Mr. Lawshe separated from the Army in 1998.”

The release claims Fort Drum officials requested that Mr. Lawshe return to post.

Col. Wright said there was a clerical mistake on post in which there was a “failure to process the paperwork” regarding Pvt. Lawshe’s desertion.

“The error was detected and fixed recently and a warrant was issued for his arrest,” Col. Wright said. “That has held up the process, but our records show he went AWOL and regardless of the clerical error, it is a crime. We do have records that state that he went AWOL 13 years ago.”

Col. Wright said Pvt. Lawshe was arrested Oct. 25 following a routine traffic stop by Pittsburgh police. Pvt. Lawshe previously had been charged with desertion before 1998, Col. Wright said, but he did not have the exact dates of the first AWOL charge available Monday.

Desertion is not common at Fort Drum, Col. Wright said, but “it does happen.”

Pvt. Lawshe will remain with his unit on post until a court-martial date is set.

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