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COMDTINST M1000.2 Discipline and Conduct (September 2011) Absence without leave

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1.C. Absentees and Deserters

1.C.2.   Unauthorized Absence of Enlisted Personnel

1.C.2.a. Absentee
         (1) Definition. The term "absentee" denotes any member not classified administratively as a deserter who is absent without authority from their unit, organization, or other place of duty where they are required to be present.
         (2) Length of Absentee. Any enlisted member absent from the Coast Guard without authority will normally be carried as an absentee during the first 29 days of their absence.

1.C.2.b. Deserter

         (1) Definition. The term "deserter" denotes a member who has been administratively declared a deserter on the 30th day of absence, or at any time during the first 29 days of absence when one or more of the following conditions exists:
    (a) When the intent to remain away from the Service is evident from circumstances attendant on the absence.
    (b) When the absence was evidently entered into to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service as defined in reference (e), Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), United States (current edition), Part IV, Article 9.c.(2)(a).

    (c) Where it is known that the member, concealing their existing obligation to the Coast Guard, has enlisted or accepted appointment in another Service.

         (2) Required Administrative Actions. Commands are responsible for the following actions and shall follow the procedures in reference (i), Personnel and Pay Procedures Manual, PPCINST M1000.2 (series) when an enlisted member has been declared a deserter.
    (a) On the 31st day of absence, or in those cases where the member is earlier declared to be a deserter, the member's commanding officer shall issue a Deserter/Absentee Wanted by the Armed Forces, Form DD-553. The command with administrative control of the member's unit will furnish necessary data, where the Personnel Data Record (PDR) is not at the unit.
1.C.6.   Removal of Marks of Desertion

1.C.6.a. Mark of Desertion

         An enlisted member of the Coast Guard is not a deserter until they have legally been found guilty by a court-martial on the charge of desertion. Entry of a mark of desertion in an enlisted member’s PDR is merely a matter of administration and is not intended to constitute a conclusive determination of the fact as to whether or not they are a deserter. Further, the Coast Guard may     bring a person to trial by court-martial for unauthorized absence which resulted in a mark of desertion being entered in their PDR.