Suit Claims Coast Guard Wrongfully Forced Members to Retire

    KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Former service members of the U.S. Coast Guard have filed a lawsuit claiming they were wrongfully forced to retire.

    The lawsuit filed in federal court last month claims about 400 service members were made to retire from 2012-14 in violation of federal law, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.

    The suit claims the Coast Guard violated service members' rights to due process and it forced retirement through the Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted Career Retention Screening Panel. The involuntary retirements were issued without adequate review and without any reduction in the force, the suit claims.

    Under a statute in effect at the time, service members of 20 years or more could be forced to retire if there was a reduction in force, or if an Enlisted Personnel Board determined the member had committed "professional dereliction" or his performance was substandard.

    The Coast Guard declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation. It has not yet filed a response to the suit.

    Derrik Magnuson, one of three plaintiffs named in the suit, was selected for involuntary retirement in 2013 after 21 years of service. He has been stationed in Kodiak since 2000. He was notified of his unexpected retirement through a letter.

    Magnuson said he had heard of the Career Retention Screening Panel program, but he did not think it would apply to him. He wasn't given an explanation on why he was chosen, he said.

    "Based on what we were told, if you had any kind of disciplinary action, or something in your record — like alcohol incidents or a DUI — you would be CRSP'ed," Magnuson said. "I had none of that in my record."

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