A Marine who had been absent without leave since the Vietnam War was charged with desertion Monday.
Pvt. Randall J. Caudill, 48, was charged with “desertion terminated by apprehension,” which carries a lesser penalty than “desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or shirk important service,” Camp Pendleton spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Janice Hagar said. Caudill could be sentenced to up to three years in a military brig.
Caudill will be tried either in a general court-martial for felony crimes, or a special court-martial for misdemeanors, Staff Sgt. Glenn Halloway said.
Caudill was arrested Sept. 9 at the U.S.-Canada border when U.S. immigration officials conducted a random sweep aboard a ferry from Canada and discovered he was on board and was listed as a deserter. He is being held at Camp Pendleton.
Caudill enlisted in the Marines in 1966 and was trained as a communications specialist. In 1968, Caudill’s Camp Pendleton unit was given orders to head for Vietnam but he fled to Canada.
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