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Army reservist defends his rights

By Alan Maass | December 5, 2003 | Page 2

A ROCHESTER, N.Y., Army reserve officer is facing charges for sticking up for his rights. Capt. Steve McAlpin, of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion, could face a court-martial and demotion because he questioned a legal waiver that his unit was ordered to sign.

The waiver allows his unit to be deployed in a war zone for the third time since January 2002. The 401st will go to Iraq in early December. McAlpin pointed out in a teleconference with a higher-up that the Army was probably violating federal law by not allowing members of the 401st a 12-month "stabilization period."

The brass obviously decided to get rid of a trouble-maker. McAlpin, a 25-year veteran of the military, was given a week and a half to "clear up his affairs" at his unit--before being banned from the battalion grounds. He was also charged with having a "negative attitude" and being "insubordinate."

A spokesperson for the 401st, Capt. Brian Earley, said that individuals are allowed to refuse to sign the waiver--but that McAlpin was "butting in" for other soldiers. It worked. McAlpin told a reporter last weekend that 17 other officers and enlisted soldiers from his unit refused to sign the waiver--and won't be shipping out to Iraq.

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