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View Full Version : Back again, more deployment/travel questions...



Elegy
10-16-2009, 01:23 PM
OKAY. I'm still working this out, please bear with me, I know it's thorney but I've never been out of the states, and I've only been in three of the states at that.

Say you're in a future war with China.

For some reason you want to go AWOL back to the states.

I guess you'd want to catch a cargo ship, since they wouldn't stamp a soldier's passport (that's what I've heard, anyway) and stow away or something... maybe it's a pirate ship and they don't care that you're leaving illegally, whatever.

So the cargo ship heads for Mexico.

You want to jump the border back into the states to get back to Georgia.

Someone PLEASE help me figure out exactly how that would go... how long it would take to get from China to Mexico, what's involved in getting safely across the border without being detected, etc., or maybe point me in the direction of some reading material I could use for research on this subject.

Thank you!

Noah Body
10-16-2009, 05:22 PM
Future war with China with US troops on the ground? He'll be sent home, all right, in a box. :)

Patrick L
10-16-2009, 05:27 PM
How far in the future are we talking? I can think of a few ways you might get back, and what type of story is this? If you wanted to be mildly outlandish, what if he traded places with a cadaver in a bodybag that is going to be transported home on a C-17? He may need a breathing tube and 17 hours of patience, but could add suspense.

Just a thought.

firedrake
10-16-2009, 06:06 PM
Getting across the border between Mexico and the US isn't a problem, given that loads of people do it every year.

He could hire a coyote to smuggle him across. They know the best routes. If he crosses into Arizona he'd best not do it in summer because the heat is brutal and people die of dehydration in the Sonoran desert where the temps are well into the 100s at that time of year. Plus, coyotes aren't to be trusted, they're not doing it for the love of their countrymen, just to make a quick profit. There are stories of them abandoning their customers and leaving them to the mercy of the desert. It's not a pretty tale.

There will be Border Patrol but they're stretched pretty thin. They will have checkpoints set up - either 'floating ones' or, say, on the Tohono O'odham Nation, they have a static one with a small wooden tower. It's very open country in parts. Apart from the heat and the lack of water, there's also rattlesnakes, scorpions, brown recluse spiders, other good things.

There' probably loads of information on crossing the border, overland, from Mexico. Plus, since your book is set slightly in the future, you can make it as easy or hard as you like.

Puma
10-16-2009, 09:23 PM
Honestly, if I wanted to go AWOL and get back into the states I would not try the southern border - in fact, I'd avoid it like the plague. I'd come in from Canada - thousands of miles of border, pretty much unpatroled and a lot of it barren of civilization. And it's not a site of international tension. But - I would avoid the large city areas like around Vancouver / Seattle, Windsor / Detroit, or Niagara Falls / BUffalo. Puma

Duncan J Macdonald
10-17-2009, 06:37 AM
OKAY. I'm still working this out, please bear with me, I know it's thorney but I've never been out of the states, and I've only been in three of the states at that.

Say you're in a future war with China.

For some reason you want to go AWOL back to the states.

I guess you'd want to catch a cargo ship, since they wouldn't stamp a soldier's passport (that's what I've heard, anyway) and stow away or something... maybe it's a pirate ship and they don't care that you're leaving illegally, whatever.

So the cargo ship heads for Mexico.

You want to jump the border back into the states to get back to Georgia.

Someone PLEASE help me figure out exactly how that would go... how long it would take to get from China to Mexico, what's involved in getting safely across the border without being detected, etc., or maybe point me in the direction of some reading material I could use for research on this subject.

Thank you!

Couple of things to start with.

Assuming Soldier is deployed to China, and he traveled there as part of a unit deployment, he doesn't have a passport.

Ships will only be available if there are secure port facilities in the "American Zone" where they can onload/offload. If it's anywhere near the shooting, any merchant ships will be US flagged, have US crews and there will be significant port security. That being said, merchant ships are generally large, and have a relatively small crew. If you can get him onboard, have him stowaway inside of one of the ships lifeboats.

Merchant shipping will be run in convoys to/from US ports. He'll only cross the border into the US from Mexico if he jumps ship earlier and swims ashore. Of course, you could have a freak Typhoon sink the merchant ship and he uses the lifeboat.

Another thing. If he leaves his appointed place of duty in a war-zone, he could be charged with desertion not absent without leave (AWOL). Check out the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) for the particulars -- it would be in the punitive articles section.

The time frame could be as long as you want -- and depending on where exactly in China he is and in which direction he is heading, it may be easier for him to cross Europe and not the Pacific Ocean. What's the status of Russia all this? Does it still exist, has the USSR reintegrated, are they neutral, etc.

If it's a big merchant ship -- 15 to 20 days. Smaller tramp steamer -- up to a month.

If you really want to do it, get the Soldier sent back to the States for some reason (death in the immediate family, serious wound, regular leave, rotation back for specific training) and have him go AWOL once he hits the US.