Pablo Paredes, 23, turned himself in to naval authorities Saturday after refusing to board the Bonhomme Richard on Dec. 6., according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paredes has assigned duties and responsibilities but isn't restricted to the base, Navy spokesman N. Scott Sutherland said."
Excerpts from an open letter to Pablo Paredes
I hope you don’t mind if I dispense with the military BS and address you informally. After all, you just took off your uniform and refused to go on deployment, so I doubt that military courtesy would make much of an impression on you.
You’ve just made a very critical decision, possibly the most important one of your young life. You decided to abandon a commitment that you made four and a half years ago by refusing to go on a six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard. In doing so, you claim that you’re taking a stand against a war you believe to be unjustified. I’m sure that making such a statement makes you feel like a man.
OK then, let’s talk – man to man.
In the big scheme of things, your action will have no impact on the war. The Bonhomme Richard sailed out of San Diego on Monday, along with her entire battle group. Your attempted desertion may have caused a media stir, but you did not delay the battle group’s departure by so much as a minute. The embarked Marines are on their way to the Sandbox, to perform the mission that they were trained to do.
You did, however, manage to f**k up your own future.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the Navy isn’t just going to let you go easily. They’re going to put you on trial for desertion. You will probably end up spending a year or longer in military prison, doing hard labor. And how do you think your fellow prisoners will respond to you? Do you think they’ll respect your decision to shirk your duty? Of course, you will also be reduced in rank to E-1, forfeit all of your pay, be dishonorably discharged, and lose eligibility for the GI bill and any veteran’s benefits you might have otherwise claimed.
To your credit, you’ve stood up before the cameras and said that you are prepared to accept the consequences for your actions. We’ll see about that.”
The Bonhomme Richard is now approaching Sri Lanka as a critical part of the world’s (read U.S. Armed Forces and their coalition partners - Good on You Mates, Australia!) response to the tsunami!