Returned Deserter Put in Quantico Brig
Jun. 12, 1987
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Douglas Beane, the former Marine who deserted from his unit in Vietnam 17 years ago, has been ordered confined to the brig at the Quantico, Va., Marine Base while the corps determines how his case will be handled, Pentagon sources said today.
Following his arrival at the Quantico base Tuesday, Beane was issued a uniform and processed back into the corps. At that point, the only restriction against him was confinement to the base itself.
Because of the severity of the outstanding charges against him, however, Beane has been ordered locked up at least temporarily while his case is reviewed for possible court-martial, the sources concluded.
The sources, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not identified, said it is still unclear whether the 39-year-old Beane would actually be court- martialed on desertion and other charges following his voluntary return to the United States.
It is still possible, the sources said, that the corps might ultimately issue Beane an administrative discharge without imposing any serious penalties against him.
Beane, a native of Rochester, Vt., surrendered to Marine authorities after spending 17 years in Australia. He had returned to the United States in hopes of visiting his father, who is ill.
Beane's father, Donald, is said to be disabled with circulatory ailments and other health problems. Beane has remained in contact with his family over the years but has not seen his parents since he deserted.
Beane, a private first class in the Marines, went absent without leave on Feb. 28, 1970, two weeks before his tour of duty was to end, and made his way to Australia, where he raised a family. Military records show Beane was 17 when he entered the Marines in July 1965.
Although Beane was primarily a cook and a guard, he won the Combat Action ribbon for battle duty with the First Force Support Regiment. Before he went AWOL in 1970, Beane was charged with seven offenses, including dealing in the black market and threatening to kill another Marine.
Beane's parents have said he fled when he came under pressure to tell authorities about black market dealings.
''He was just a young kid from Vermont in a foreign nation at wartime under a lot of pressure. He was one of the smallest players in a big black market ring,'' said Christine Beane, the Marine's mother.
''He was scared and ran. It was survival.''