“Picky” deserter: how an American soldier escaped to the USSR
In March 1987, American soldier Waite Roberts, who served in Germany, voluntarily left his place of service and, together with his wife, German Petra Neumann, fled to the USSR, where he received political asylum. As a matter of fact, cases of US citizens escaping to the Soviet Union were by no means isolated. However, this fact of desertion looks very curious.
It's all about the reason for the escape. As Roberts later explained, he did not like serving in the American army, because they were forced to follow orders, they were not allowed to argue with the command and smoke marijuana, and they literally forbade him to read the Bible that his mother gave him. As a result, the “exhausted from service” soldier decided to take matters into his own hands and escape.
He chose Turkmenistan as his new place of residence. The climate there supposedly resembles his native California. He got a job in a terrarium.
Everything would be fine, but the “fastidious” American deserter didn’t like it in the USSR either. It turned out that he needed to learn the language and get used to another culture. Moreover, his wife had difficulty finding jeans in the right size in the Soviet Union.
At first, the couple tried to move to the GDR to live with Petra’s sister, but the Germans demanded that they renounce US citizenship. This also did not suit Roberts.
As a result, the “fugitives” returned to Germany.
To the deserter's surprise, he was not detained at the airport. Then he contacted his command and asked how he could surrender. There they told him to report to the military police station in the morning.
Meanwhile, Roberts could not surrender voluntarily. He was detained when he went to buy pizza.
Ultimately, the seeker of a better life escaped with a slight fright - he was fired from the ranks of the American army.
But the funny thing is that he didn’t want to serve in the US Army. Roberts accepted the contract only because he could not find a job, and with a salary of 4 thousand dollars, he thought he had the opportunity to save up for university studies.
- archive photo
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