US soldier jailed for joining Legion
“I needed to be wet and cold and hungry,” he tells New York Times as he starts a four-year sentence for desertion
A US soldier has been jailed for four years for joining the French Foreign Legion.
Lawrence J. Franks Jr was 28 when he disappeared on March 30, 2009 from the Fort Drum base in New York.
“I needed to be wet and cold and hungry,” Franks said, according to the New York Times. “I needed the gruelling life I could only find in a place like the Legion.”
He has spent the intervening period training with the Legion under the name Christopher Flaherty and has been deployed several times including operations in Mali, Djibouti and the Central African Republic.
At the end of his five year contract in March, he turned himself over to the American authorities in Germany.
He told the New York Times he had no regrets but was sorry for the pain he had caused his family.
His father has said that New York State Police believed the soldier had flown to Zurich and passed through Swiss customs but had then disappeared.
Franks was court-martialed, convicted and sentenced at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for conduct unbecoming an officer and desertion with intention to shirk duty.