On December 23rd, 1944 something happened. General Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an order to execute Eddie Slovik. Who was Eddie Slovik? He was the first man executed by firing squad for the crime of desertion since the Civil War.
Let’s just clarify right now, what is desertion? Desertion is defined as follows – a military person has committed the crime of Desertion if he/she is AWOL, and intends to remain away from the military permanently. Desertion is a major crime in the US Military. It’s punishable under Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A military person who is AWOL for 30 days or more is administratively classified as a Deserter.
Being a deserter is a pretty big deal. Actually it’s punishable by death. No messing around. No slap on the wrist. No medal for participation so you can go home and lie to your girlfriend about what a badass