YAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This News Made My Day!


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida Army reservist has been released from active duty after asking a federal court to block his fifth deployment to war zones.

Sgt. Erik Botta was sent to Iraq three times and to Afghanistan once. He felt the Army should consider his previous tours “to assure a sharing of exposure to the hazards of combat.” He filed a petition in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach earlier this month, contending that the Army’s refusal to exempt him “constitutes unlawful custody.”

“I’m one year away from finishing my contract with the military, and while I was on active duty, I gave them four years of unquestioned service doing what they requested of me,” Botta told WPBF News 25 during an interview earlier this month. “Since I’ve left, I’ve gotten married to my wife, and now we’ve had to put on hold starting a family and our lifestyle that we’ve made a lot of sacrifices for in the last three years.”

The Port St. Lucie resident has since withdrawn his petition. His attorney, Mark Waple, said the Army released Botta from active duty Monday night. Waple said the Army released his client because it determined he “was not medically qualified to remain on active duty.” Botta never claimed any medical disqualification and suffers from no illnesses.

An Army spokeswoman said earlier in July that Army Reserve units deploy for 12 consecutive months, and that Botta had only accumulated about 10 nonconsecutive months of deployment. Botta enlisted in October 2000.

Botta told WPBF he filed the lawsuit against the military in hopes of obtaining a delay or exemption to allow him to complete his electrical engineering degree.Botta had reported for duty July 15, with plans for deployment a few weeks later. He told WPBF he was not going to disobey orders and would have deployed on schedule.

An Army spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

Well – we’ll comment!  CONGRATULATIONS Sgt. Botta!


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