Corps will court-martial deserter Marine

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Dec 5, 2008 21:00:52 EST

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The Camp Pendleton Marine who deserted two years ago but was arrested last month boarding a private airplane will be tried in a court-martial.

The Marine Corps has charged Lance Cpl. Lance Hering, 23, with one count of unauthorized absence and he will face a special court-martial, Maj. Kristen Lasica, a Camp Pendleton spokeswoman, said Friday.

Hering, of Boulder, Colo., remained confined in the base brig, Lasica said. The decision to charge him was made by Col. Philip Betz, who commands Headquarters and Service Battalion at the base. If convicted, Hering could face up to 12 months confinement and be busted to private, lose all pay and benefits and receive a bad conduct discharge.

Hering was an infantryman with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, when he disappeared Aug. 30, 2006. At the time, a friend of his told Boulder authorities that Hering had hurt himself while climbing in a nearby state park and had gone missing when a rescue party went to help him. His disappearance drew hundreds of volunteers along with search-and-rescue teams to comb the mountainous area in hopes of finding the wounded Marine. But days later, the friend told local law enforcement that the story was a hoax and that Hering planned to disappear.

Authorities, acting on a tip, arrested Hering, along with his father, at the Port Angeles, Wash., airport Nov. 16 as they were about to board a Cessna airplane piloted by the father, a licensed pilot.

Hering fought extradition to Colorado, where he has two arrest warrants pending in connection with the hoax and with a probation violation on an earlier burglary charge. If he is kicked out of the Marine Corps, he will likely still face the charges in Colorado.

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