Military

Imprisoned Marine 'Deserter' Had Been Honorably Discharged

Alan Gourgue was kept in custody for a month and hauled across country before he was released.

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On Jan. 26, 2011, a pair of U.S. Marines put Alan Gourgue in handcuffs and a restraint belt and hauled him across the country to face trial as a deserter. Gourgue was distraught and completely confused; he had been honorably discharged in 2006 and finished his reserve obligation four months earlier.

Gourgue's ordeal provides a glimpse into a rarely seen, slow-moving, stiflingly bureaucratic world of military desertions, where one administrative mistake can result in a catch-22 that Joseph Heller couldn't have invented.