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Thelma and Louise, only different...

Red 6

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From the Army Times:

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2008/10/marine_uamarines_102408w/

Oh, Jarhead, where art thou?

UA for two months, a pair of deserters come home
By Bryan Mitchell - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 27, 2008 8:50:40 EDT

Knocking on doors is what Sgt. Jordan McMahon does. A recruiter in northern Arkansas, McMahon spends plenty of time wandering up to homes, rapping on the screen and making his pitch. Sometimes he’s welcomed with open arms. Other times he’s told to get lost, or worse.

Seldom — check that, only once so far — are people so shaken by the sight of the Marine recruiter that they barrel out the back door, kicking up a trail of dust as they flee. Most of the people McMahon visits are looking to get into the Corps, not get away from it.

But on Aug. 21, as McMahon stood on the front stoop of a mobile home in Mountain Home, Ark., inquiring about two wayward Marines, the pair tore off into the hinterlands, continuing a not-so-great escape that began three weeks earlier, and more than 1,500 miles away, at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

That’s where Pfc. Robert Hudson Jr. and Lance Cpl. Justin Walker, described by police as “pretty sad examples of Marines,” were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. Only they never showed.

Instead, they were off on an unauthorized absence, burning through their cash while driving to Arkansas in an effort to get as far away from the Corps as possible. It would not be the duo’s final lapse in judgment.

Despite a comedy of errors — among them, running to a sister’s house, the evil genius equivalent of hiding under the bed — the two might have realized their aspirations to ditch their military commitments and “live off the land like Rambo,” police said.

But then, according to police reports, they allegedly helped themselves to some chocolate fried pies. The stolen pastries landed the Marines in the slammer, talking to jailhouse snitches and making the situation worse.

The Corps rounded the pair up and brought them back to California.

But while awaiting charges at Camp Pendleton, the Marines disappeared faster than a hamburger MRE. They’re like the A-Team, only without the cool black van.

That was the first day of September. The next time the Corps heard from them was six weeks later, when they showed up at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and turned themselves in.
The long arm of the Corps

Hudson, a 19-year-old infantryman, enlisted in the Corps on July 2, 2007. It wasn’t a good fit, and five months later he was declared a deserter. That was the first time.

Pendleton officials did not provide details about Hudson’s initial flight or how they got him back, but there’s no reason to believe he grew to love the Corps. Less than 10 months later, he disappeared again.

For his second attempt, Hudson recruited the support of the 21-year-old Walker, a radio operator, who joined the Corps in June 2007.

The Corps has offered very little personal background on the pair. Much of what is known comes from Walker’s public Web page on www.myyearbook.com, a social networking site.

There, the Marine says he “can’t wait to get home” and is looking for “friendship, dating, random play or whatever I can get.” He’s thinking about “the weekend” and finds inspiration in the quote, “If God is with me who can be against me.”

Oh, Walker’s favorite TV program? “Prison Break.”

The Marines’ initial scheme, according to police, was to hole up with Walker’s sister in Mountain Home, a sleepy town of 12,000 in the Ozark Mountains, known for its world-class fishing. Attempts to locate the sister were unsuccessful.

The duo planned to hide out and pray the Corps forgot they ever enlisted. But the service is a stickler when it comes to holding Marines to their contractual obligations, rounding up an average of 80 deserters per month nationwide.

McMahon got a phone call from a fellow noncommissioned officer, a member of 3/1 at Pendleton, who asked the recruiter to play shepherd for a day and help round up a pair of lost sheep.

“I’m a recruiter,” McMahon said, “so I’m a pretty busy guy. Finding UA Marines is not my priority in life.”

Capt. Carl Redding, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, said recruiters are not normally the first line of offense for finding runaways.

“Recruiters don’t track down those who are [UA],” he said. “They are simply one of the sources those [Marines] can use to turn themselves in.”

Two Absentee Collection Centers and their staffs of Marine “chasers” are responsible for getting a fix on the nearly 900 Marines who are deserters at the moment. But they can’t do it alone.

Recruiting stations can be a lifeline for UA Marines. If a runaway Marine turns himself in before being declared a deserter, he can be issued so-called “stragglers” orders, allowing the runaway to save some dignity by returning to his command by himself, said Radomet Pagan, deputy director of Marine Corps corrections in Arlington, Va. Coming in on your own can be seen as a sign of regret, and sometimes weighs on the punishment handed out later.

But that’s not what happened in Mountain Home.

Despite his monthly mission and pressing recruiting duties, McMahon agreed to go on the hunt, hoping to help the junior Marines salvage their careers.

“My thought was ‘I’m going to try and get these guys to return to their unit and help them out,’” he said. “I don’t want to see two young Marines have their careers ruined before they even got started.”

Friendly with many locals from across the region, McMahon called an amiable sheriff’s deputy to assist in what he hoped would be an easy apprehension.

McMahon and the deputy felt something was off when a chorus of barking dogs roused just as they were knocking on the front door.

“That didn’t seem right,” McMahon said.

Walker’s sister answered and tried to fetch the pair but returned to the front door confused. She said the two claimed to be out of the Corps, but they skedaddled out the back when the khaki-clad recruiter and deputy approached.

“I wouldn’t have chased them down anyway,” McMahon said. “I would have just talked to them.”

McMahon and the deputy waited 30 minutes for the Marines to double back, and then a bit longer after Walker and Hudson called and said they wanted to turn themselves in. But the pair never showed.

Instead, their getaway launched Hudson and Walker on an interstate misadventure in which no mode of transport was too unconventional.

Police reports of their flight from justice read like a bumbling crime caper movie.

Hitchhiking into Missouri. Hopping a freight train like Butch and Sundance. Stealing a canoe for a late summer float down the Spring River before finally embarking on a bush-league crime spree against Arkansas’ most renowned retailer.
Wal-Mart’s most wanted

The two jumped out of a moving train near Hardy, Ark., fearing they had been spotted trespassing on the rails, police said.

They landed not far from a police officer on patrol, and persuaded the cop to give them a lift to the Wal-Mart in nearby Ash Flat.

That’s where their escapade almost came to an anticlimatic finale.

A surveillance camera spotted the two eating chocolate fried pies they hadn’t paid for, authorities said. Ash Flat Police Chief Mike Zeiger was called to investigate the alleged heist.

“I said ‘Well, boys, those are going to be the most expensive fried pies you have ever ate,” Zeiger said. The shoplifting charge carried a $180 fine.

Police said Hudson and Walker sang like Sinatra when they hit the slammer.

They shared stories of woe from their short careers as Marines, saying they were unfit for deployment because of mental health issues. Then they complained of poor treatment by superiors.

“I said, ‘If you weren’t smoking dope and drinking and going AWOL and being stupid, they would probably treat you well,’” Zeiger said.

It’s not clear that the two were using drugs or drinking, but Zeiger’s other accusations are hard to dispute.

Then came the bragging. They allegedly recounted the details to other inmates of a two-state string of thefts, in which they stole hunting and camping gear (as well as CDs) from Wal-Mart stores in Arkansas and Missouri.

“They wanted to live off the land like Rambo,” Zeiger said. “But they were pretty sad examples of Marines. They’re about 115 pounds, little dried up things.”

Eric Pickle, administrator of the Sharp County Detention Center, said a fellow inmate snitched and a search party quickly located and gathered their caches of stolen goods.

An employee for the Ash Flat Wal-Mart — who identified himself as the manager but declined to provide his name — complimented the police but declined to speak about Walker or Hudson. No further charges are pending against the Marines for the alleged thefts.
On the road again

It looked like the journey was over as Hudson and Walker sat at Camp Pendleton in late August, awaiting charges for their time on the lam. Except, well, on Sept. 1 they escaped again.

Corps officials have offered few details on how the duo, with their history of disappearing from duty, was able to flee the base again.

What is known is that the pair was trusted to remain in their barracks rather than in a detention facility.

“Just because you violate [the law] doesn’t mean they can let you rot in the brig,” said 1st Lt. Curtis Williamson, a spokesman for 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton.

Their names were listed on the nationwide National Crime Information Center network, so any brush with the law would land them behind bars and another chaser could be dispatched to bring them back to California.

But they were already in the state, showing up at Travis Air Force Base, 450 miles north of Pendleton, to face the music. Marine officials said Oct. 16 that the pair was being detained at Travis.

Pagan said Hudson and Walker might be acting under the mistaken belief that repeatedly going UA will earn them a one-way ticket out of the Corps because it works for some people.

But commanders have tremendous leeway in determining how Marines will be dealt with, and could choose to keep the serial runaways in the Corps to complete their obligations.

“They could have cooperated and gotten a good butt-chewing,” said McMahon, the recruiter who tried to help them. “But now they are going to be in real trouble.”
 

PMedMoe

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They shared stories of woe from their short careers as Marines, saying they were unfit for deployment because of mental health issues. Then they complained of poor treatment by superiors.

“I said, ‘If you weren’t smoking dope and drinking and going AWOL and being stupid, they would probably treat you well,’” Zeiger said.

It’s not clear that the two were using drugs or drinking, but Zeiger’s other accusations are hard to dispute.

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It looked like the journey was over as Hudson and Walker sat at Camp Pendleton in late August, awaiting charges for their time on the lam. Except, well, on Sept. 1 they escaped again.

Corps officials have offered few details on how the duo, with their history of disappearing from duty, was able to flee the base again.

What is known is that the pair was trusted to remain in their barracks rather than in a detention facility.

I can see it now:  "Let's leave these idiots in the shacks and see what they do next."  ;D





 

J.J

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Last month I arrested and returned a 18 yr old from Arizona who was listed as a deserter from the USMC. He wanted to go to Toronto. The warrant for his arrest had a USA wide return radius. I handed him over to US Customs and I almost  ;) felt sorry for the kid. We had a greeting of 8 US Custom Officers, 2 of which were supervisors. A few months ago I returned a guy with a 1st degree murder warrant and I only had a few officers to greet us
I spoke to the one supervisor, who was USMC Reserve Officer, who in the past worked as a recruiter and he was not a happy man. He had the kid escorted into the back cell and went in after him, we didn't stick around to see what happened.
 

Red 6

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That's the thing about goobers like these two. They'll screw up again and get picked up. Their names get entered in NCIC and the Marine Corps will let THEM do the work!
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Give them a car and point them towards a cliff....
 

Strike

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Well Red 6, that made my day.  Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.  Thanks!
 
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