AWOL Or Not? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/29/04

AWOL Or Not?

Tim Holliman wore a military uniform for only four months. He joined the Army National Guard last October and went to Fort Knox, Kentucky for training.

"I came home for Christmas and I wound up having a mild heart attack and I wound up getting discharged earlier this year."

According to his papers, Holliman was discharged on February 9. On March 16, the Army declared Holliman AWOL and issued an arrest warrant.

Holliman turned himself in to Gulfport police and they took him to jail last Friday afternoon. His wife called Ft. Knox looking for answers.

"My wife told them that she had my discharge papers. She faxed them a copy of it and that's when they realized they made a mistake by issuing the warrant. I was told after I was released by my wife that the Army notified them through teletex around 11:00 and told them the warrant was invalid, that I should be released immediately. And I wasn't released until around 3:30 the next morning."

When Holliman was booked into the jail, his name was added to the department's jail docket on the Internet. Holliman says he's afraid that will haunt him as he tries to find a job.

"With it being on there, a lot of people will think I'm some kind of hardened criminal."

Holliman says he never thought a simple misunderstanding would turn into such a hassle.

"I understand things do happen, people make mistakes. The Army admitted they made a mistake and they've cleared it up on their end."

The sheriff's department is trying to do that too. Its website now says the charge against Holliman has been dropped. And Major Wayne Payne says they're presenting Holliman's case to a Justice Court Judge, the only one who can clear Holliman's name.

Ironically, Tim Holliman's discharge papers arrived in the mail Friday, the same day he turned himself in on the AWOL charge.

byMarcia Hill

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