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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, November 11, 2004

Army cancels call to duty

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

On the eve of Veterans Day, David M. Miyasato received word that the Army has revoked its order directing him to report for active duty.

David Miyasato, a glass tinter who lives on Kaua'i, sued the U.S. government last week to protest the military's recalling him to active duty. Miyasato said he fulfilled his Army obligations in 1996.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

Miyasato, 34, enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserve in 1987, served three years of active duty during the first Gulf War and remained on active status for five years until 1996. He was ordered to report to a military facility in South Carolina this month.

He was notified yesterday morning by U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye's office that the Army had rescinded its order.

"It was a great relief," Miyasato said from his home on Kaua'i yesterday. "A weight has been lifted off our shoulders."

Miyasato was ordered in September to report this past Tuesday to South Carolina. After he filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the order, he and his lawyer, Eric Seitz, received a faxed letter from the Army's Human Resources Command in St. Louis, Mo., saying the report date had been delayed for up to 30 days.

The lawsuit said Miyasato fulfilled his military obligation and he and his family would suffer "serious and irreparable harm" if he is compelled to report for active duty.

In a letter dated yesterday, the command said the order was revoked. It did not give any reason.

"I'm sure they realize they didn't have a legal right to recall him," Seitz said. "To their credit, they realized it, although somewhat belatedly."

Harry Yee, assistant U. S. attorney, could not be reached for comment.

Jennifer Sabas, Inouye's chief of staff, said Miyasato contacted the office last week. They contacted the command; it reviewed the case and then revoked the order, she said.

Miyasato said he received a call from Inouye's Kaua'i field representative Ron Sakoda in the morning. "I believe fulfilling my obligation played a role in that," he said, although he was never given an official reason.

Miyasato served as a specialist E-4 driving a heavy equipment mobility tactical truck and served in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during his tour of duty. He said he didn't have any regrets about his service, but was shocked when he received the order 13 years after his honorable discharge.

Miyasato is now married; they have an 8-month-old daughter, and he has an auto window tinting business in Lihu'e.

He said his wife, Estelle, is also elated.

"She's just so thankful and grateful of how everything played out," Miyasato said. "We didn't have an attorney a week before the filing (of the lawsuit.) I was looking at having to just go along with the order."

He said he had been preparing himself mentally to serve if he had to. "I thought I had a good case, yet I still thought the Army could use some kind of loophole to still recall me to active duty. So it was a heavy weight (lifted from his shoulders)," he said.

But if he had to serve, he said he'd comply. "I never thought of going AWOL or being a deserter," he said. "I'd definitely heed the call and do my duty."

For today, he said he's going to get family Christmas photographs taken. "It's just a great Veterans Day," he said. "We'll probably celebrate somehow."

Reach Ken Kobayashi at 525-8030 or kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.