Santiago, 27, lives in Pasco, Wash., but is a solider with D Company of the Oregon Guard's 113th Aviation Battalion, based in Pendleton. He signed up for an eight-year tour beginning June 28, 1996. In April, less than three months before he was scheduled to be discharged, the Army alerted Santiago's unit that it might be mobilized.
As a result, Santiago's termination date was extended more than 27 years -- to December 2031.
By comparison, if instead of voluntarily enlisting in the Army, Santiago had been convicted of murder in Oregon, with no prior convictions he would have gotten a sentence of only about 10 years, according to the sentencing guidelines. He'd only have 2 years left on his sentence now, so he would be a free man 25 years sooner.