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The Army defines a deserter as someone who has been absent without leave for longer than 30 days. The soldier is then discharged as a deserter.
According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared to 3,301 last year.