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thedrifter
03-29-06, 09:42 AM
1983 deserter turns himself in
By Gidget Fuentes
Times staff writer

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A California man who left his Marine Corps infantry unit more than 22 years ago is getting back in uniform March 28, this time to face likely charges of desertion.

Pvt. Fred R. Carter, now 44, had turned himself in to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Twin Peaks station, where he was handed over to the Marine Corps, a Camp Pendleton, Calif., spokesman confirmed. “He notified his lawyer he wanted to turn himself in” to county sheriffs, said 2nd Lt. Lawton King.

Carter had been living in Cedarpines Park, a mountain community near Lake Arrowhead and 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, and had turned himself into the Twin Peaks sheriffs station on March 27.

“He hasn’t been in any trouble with us,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Ells at the Twin Peaks station. Deserter cases are a rarity in the mountain area. “It’s quiet up here. Very quiet,” Ells said. Carter was turned over to the Marine Corps not long after he showed up at the station, he said.

Carter was assigned to Weapons Company of the Pendleton-based 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, when he disappeared July 16, 1983, King said. He went into deserter status Aug. 16, 1983.

Once in custody, Carter will be housed in the base brig and given a set of uniforms and a Marine Corps regulation haircut while officials decide his fate, King said. Deserters caught and brought to the base “are given access to television and reading materials, three square meals a day and recreation time each day,” along with a medical examination, he said.

His fate will rest with the battalion commander or his superiors, who will decide whether to charge him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The Corps has handled several high-profile, long-running deserters so far this year.

The most recent, Allen Abney, a 56-year-old man who fled to Canada in 1968 to avoid the Vietnam War, was caught earlier this month as he crossed the Idaho border into the United States, 38 years after he deserted. He was held at the Pendleton brig for about a week before being sent back to Canada.

In January, Ernest McQueen, 55, was arrested in Texas and turned over to the Marine Corps, which he deserted in 1969 to avoid going to Vietnam. Last August, a 65-year-old man, Jerry Texiera, was arrested for deserting the Corps in 1965.

Ellie