FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday - September 13, 2004
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that in an Order filed on September 10, 2004, U. S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan denied Army Reserve Captain Michael T. Parrish's motion to enjoin the United States Army from ordering him to active duty. Whitney said, "Most importantly, Judge Flanagan recognized that to restrict or limit the activation and deployment of reserve forces raises 'the possibility of substantial disruption and diversion of military resources.'" In her Order, Judge Flanagan quoted from the case of Irby v. United States (1), from the Eastern District of Virginia, "'[T]he public has an interest, particularly in light of current events, in seeing that the Army's discretionary decision making with respect to personnel decisions is effectuated with minimal judicial interference.'" Parrish is under orders to report for active duty no earlier than September 26, 2004.
On August 25, 2004, following Captain Parrish's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, Judge Flanagan delayed his activation pending a preliminary injunction hearing, which she held in Raleigh on September 1, 2004.
According to the government's evidence at that hearing, Captain Parrish entered into an ROTC contract under which the Army would pay for three years of his college education, in return for Parrish serving a minimum mandatory eight-year term of military service. At the end of his eight years of service, he could choose to resign his commission as an officer. If he did not resign, he would remain in the Individual Ready Reserve. Parrish claimed his understanding of the contract to be that he automatically would be discharged from the Army at the end of the eight years. Upon her review of the contract, however, Judge Flanagan found that the contract clearly required Parrish to affirmatively submit his resignation in order to terminate his obligation to the Army. Judge Flanagan held that Parrish, subsequent to the end of his mandatory eight-year term, had corresponded with the Army, providing updates for his address and marital status and obtaining the required update of his security clearance. She further held that only after his notice of activation did he claim that he was no longer obligated as an officer. Judge Flanagan also determined that the terms of the contract clearly created an indefinite appointment as an officer, which would require him to formally resign at the end of his mandatory eight-year obligation, which he failed to do.
1. Irby v. United States, 245 F.Supp.2d 792, 796 (E.D.Va. 2003).