Captain Jay Ferriola Gets Honorable Discharge
Army honorably discharges captain who challenged Iraq assignment (Boston Globe – AP)
The Army has agreed to honorably discharge an Army captain who challenged his assignment to Iraq in court, saying he had properly resigned. Jay Ferriola, 31, emerged smiling from U.S. District Court on Friday after his lawyer, Barry Slotnick, told a judge that Ferriola was withdrawing his legal challenge because the Army on Wednesday had formally and honorably discharged him. ”I’m very happy,” Ferriola said.
Ferriola, a New Yorker who had served in South Korea and Bosnia, said he brought his lawsuit two weeks ago because he was assigned to Iraq even though he had told the Army in June that he was resigning because his eight-year term was finished. The Army had not acted on his resignation request until he sued the government. ”It wasn’t a fear of going over,” Ferriola said. ”I didn’t want to lose 18 months of my life whether I was going to Iraq or Paris.”
The Army did the right thing here, if belatedly. An all-volunteer force is a sham if people can be forced into service even after they’ve fulfilled their statutory obligation. Ferriola’s explanation strikes me as quite plausible. Indeed, that was precisely why I decided not to join the Active Army Reserve when I left Active Duty in 1992. Had there been a “real” war, I would have gladly gone. But I wasn’t willing to interrupt graduate school and then my civilian career to go off to Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, or any number of other adventures that the Army was off on in the 1990s. I suspect that I’d have gone back to Iraq had I been in Ferriola’s shoes, but I can’t blame him for not wanting to go under the present circumstances.