Erik Botta believes he's done right by his country.
Days after 9/11, as a young Army reservist, he volunteered to go to war. He was soon in Afghanistan.
The next year, he was sent out again, this time to Iraq, part of a Special Operations team.
In the next two years, he was sent to Iraq again. And again.
He thought he was done. But now, the Army wants Sgt. Botta one more time.
The 26-year-old Port St. Lucie man has been ordered to report to Fort Jackson, S.C., on July 15 for his fifth deployment. And that has compelled Botta, a first-generation American who counts himself a quiet patriot, to do something he never thought he'd do: sue the Army.
''I'm proud of my service,'' he said. ``I never wanted it to end like this.''
Nearly seven years into his eight-year commitment to the reserves, the personal costs are higher for Botta. He could lose his home. His job at Sikorsky, working on the Black Hawk military helicopter, could be on the line. He's halfway to his electrical engineering degree, planning a career in defense work, but his professors say he'll suffer a significant setback if he is deployed. He doesn't mention the danger another deployment would bring, but his wife and parents do.
Troops are just commodities for the Bush Bunch. Use them until they are dead or irretrievably broken then do as little for them as they can get away with. It's completely remarkable to me that any member of the military could continue to support Bush given his track record.
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