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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Staff Sgt. Stephen Moore may have snagged nearly $90 million in the Georgia lottery Tuesday while on leave in the United States, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have to serve out his enlistment, officials said Wednesday.

Moore, a chemical specialist, had been stationed in South Korea for nine months when he struck it rich.

Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, an 8th Army spokesman, said “any soldier in this type of situation is under obligation to finish their enlistment.” But a regulation allows the Army to release soldiers when it’s in the best interest of the service and the soldier, he added.

Boylan said he could not confirm Moore’s name or unit because the soldier had not contacted his chain of command to allow release of the information.

But in a Georgia Lottery press release sent out Wednesday, Moore is called the largest single winner in the state’s lottery history. When his family found out he’d won, “that’s when the comedy show started,” Moore was quoted as saying.

Numerous efforts by Stars and Stripes to contact Moore, 30, on Thursday morning in his hometown of Fitzgerald, Ga., were unsuccessful.

Moore bought the Quik Pick ticket at Flash Foods in Fitzgerald, which has a population of about 10,000. It was worth $150 million, but Moore took a lump sum payment of $88.9 million before taxes, according to the release.

It was the only winning ticket in the Mega Millions game, which is pooled from ticket sales in 10 states.

According to the release, Moore told his friends in South Korea that he would win the lottery while he was in the United States.

Reporters from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Moore and his family late Wednesday.

“I told my mom to go ahead and quit work,” Moore told the newspaper.

He said he also plans to build a new home for his wife and two daughters.

“[President] Bush needs to call my house and tell me my baby don’t have to go back to Korea, that he can stay home,” his mother, Annette Moore Crawford, told the paper.

She also said she wouldn’t quit her job. She’d simply show up in a brand new Mercedes-Benz if she could persuade her son to buy one for her.

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