Coast Guard deserter to be confined

Coast Guard deserter to be confined

HONOLULU (AP) — A military judge has ruled that a Coast Guard rescue swimmer who admitted he deserted his job in Hawaii to camp out in the mountains of Oahu for three months will be confined for more than 6 months and discharged with bad conduct.

Petty Officer 1st Class Russell Matthews’ October 2012 disappearance led to a massive, nearly four-day-long search that cost more than $1 million.

He was sentenced today during a special court-martial. He must also forfeit $2,000 of pay per month for 12 months, which he can opt to have sent to his two children. He’ll also be downgraded to the third-lowest rank in the Coast Guard.

Matthews says he left the Coast Guard to escape the pain from losing his crewmembers in a 2008 helicopter crash and the suicide of his first wife. He says he didn’t intend to turn his back on the organization.

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