A veteran of the first Persian Gulf War is suing the Army after it ordered him to report for duty 13 years after he was honorably discharged from active duty and eight years after he left the reserves.
Kauai resident David Miyasato received word of his reactivation in September, but says he believes he completed his eight-year obligation to the Army long ago.
“I was shocked,” Miyasato said Friday. “I never expected to see something like that after being out of the service for 13 years.”
His federal lawsuit, filed Friday in Honolulu, seeks a judgment declaring that he has fulfilled his military obligations.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Yee said his office would defend the Army. He declined to comment further. An Army spokewoman at the Pentagon declined to comment to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Miyasato, 34, was scheduled to report to a military facility in South Carolina on Tuesday.
Within hours of filing the lawsuit, however, Miyasato received a faxed letter from the Army’s Human Resources Command saying his “exemption from active duty had not been finalized at this time” and that he has been given an administrative delay for up to 30 days, said his attorney, Eric Seitz.
Miyasato, his wife, Estelle, and their 7-month-old daughter, Abigail, live in Lihue, where he opened an auto-tinting shop two years ago.
His lawsuit states that Miyasato is suing not because he opposes the war in Iraq, but because his business and family would suffer “serious and irreparable harm” if he is required to serve.
Miyasato enlisted in the Army in 1987 and served in Iraq and Kuwait during the first Persian Gulf War as a petroleum supply specialist and truck driver.
Miyasato said he received an honorable discharge from active duty in 1991, then served in the reserves until 1996 to fulfill his eight-year enlistment commitment.
The Army announced last year that it would involuntarily activate an estimated 5,600 soldiers to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Army officials would be tapping members of the Individual Ready Reserve — military members who have been discharged from the Army, Army Reserve or the Army National Guard, but still have contractual obligations to the military.
Miyasato said he never re-enlisted, signed up for any bonuses or was told that he had been transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve or any other Army Reserve unit.
“I fulfilled my contract,” Miyasato said. “I just want to move on from this, and I’m optimistic that I’ll be successful.”
Miyasato speculated that he may have been picked because his skills as a truck driver and refueler are in demand in Iraq. He told reporters he did the same work as that done by a group of Army reservists who refused to deliver fuel along a dangerous route in Iraq last month.