It’s been ten years since Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was declared a military deserter by the United States Marine Corps. Hassoun disappeared from his unit in June of 2004 while on deployment in Iraq. The military claims he stole an armored personnel carrier, referred to by troops as a Humvee, and drove off the base in Fallujah.
Unlike, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who went missing from his unit in the mountains of Afghanistan, Hassoun, was found a month after his disappearance in Beirut, Lebanon, unharmed and blaming the incident on terrorist kidnappers in Iraq.
Hassoun was returned to the United States but before he could face a military court martial, he was allowed to visit family in Utah where he slipped the leash once again.
Our government hasn’t disclosed where Wassef Ali Hassoun, a Lebanese American, turned up this time, only that he is being flown in from a “Mideast location” to Norfolk, Va., on Sunday, likely under heavy guard this time. On Monday he will be turned over to authorities at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Typically, the military doesn’t expend many resources looking for AWOL troops. As one Army officer stated, “Sooner or later they manage to turn up. Unless there are criminal circumstances, it’s not a priority. We do not have designated officers to look for those who have gone missing.”
The military has refused to say where Hassoun has been the last ten years, who he has lived with, and what led him to desert his fellow troops in Iraq. It’s not known if his case was a matter of simple desertion or if he had a will to do harm to the United States.
The majority of desertion charges are dispensed with under administrative discharge. An Article 85 – Desertion is the most grievous of the absentee/AWOL offenses. The chief difference between AWOL and desertion is intent to remain away from the military permanently.
Read more about his elaborate kidnapping ruse here.