AWOL Marine arrested in Dalhart
Left Photo by Gina Milton: Officer San Miguel inventories evidence while Lt. Davis arrests Smith.
By Robin Scott
Two men wandering near 4th Street and Highway 87 were stopped on Monday morning, May 11th. The stop was the result of suspicious behavior detected by Lt. Darin Davis of the Dalhart Police Department. As Lt. Davis and his partner, Officer Roberto San Miguel approached the men, the men split up from one another and hurriedly moved in opposite directions.
Lt. Davis quickly learned the reason for the odd behavior of the men. One male, Cameron Smith, turned out to be a Private in the United States Marine Corps who was wanted on a UCMJ warrant for arrest for being AWOL (absent without leave) from his duty station at Twenty-nine Palms, California. The other male, Michael Wolf, was in possession of 25 grams of marijuana.
Lt. Davis detained both individuals and patted each man down as a precaution. During the pat down the marijuana was discovered in Wolf’s pocket. Both men were arrested. Wolf was later arraigned and bond was set at $1,000.00. Pvt. Smith was picked up by representatives from the USMC on Wednesday evening and transported back to his duty station.
According to Lt. Davis, “This is the second time Pvt. Smith has been picked up in Dalhart for being AWOL from the Marine Corps. Apparently, he had only been out of jail from the Marine Corps a day or so when he took off again. He came right back to Dalhart.”
The United States Marine Corps and United States Navy generally use the phrase Unauthorized Absence, or “UA.” Members may be dropped from their unit rolls after 30 days and then listed as deserters. Desertion is measured by leaving or remaining absent from their unit, organization, or place of duty, where there has been a determined intent to not return and that intent is determined to be to avoid hazardous duty or shirk contractual obligation. People who are away for more than 30 days but return voluntarily or indicate a credible intent to return may still be considered AWOL, while those who are away for fewer than 30 days but can credibly be shown to have no intent to return may be tried for desertion and in some cases treason if enough evidence is found.