Vietnam deserter readjusts to civilian life after release |

Vietnam deserter readjusts to civilian life after release

RALEIGH, N.C. – Jerry Texiero’s last official military duty was to complete a course on something he mastered more than 40 years ago – leaving the Marine Corps.Texiero, 65, had been accused of fleeing Camp Pendleton, Calif., in 1965 to avoid serving in Vietnam. But after the military dropped desertion charges, authorities still required him to go through discharge procedures that included a class on readjusting to civilian life.”They do this with everybody that’s leaving,” said Texiero, who was released from Camp Lejeune last week. “They go into how to dress when you leave the military. They tell you how the civilian world is completely different.”The instructor pulled me aside and said, ‘Just go along with everything,”‘ he said Tuesday.His fiancee, Elaine Smith, said military officials did not seem to share her sense of humor when she offered a joke: “I told them he already knew how to leave.”After fleeing the Marine Corps, Texiero lived under an alias for years in Tarpon Springs, Fla., where he was a boat salesman.A military team that tracks down deserters caught up with him last August through a fingerprint match. Texiero, using a different name, was serving 20 years of probation after pleading no contest to charges he defrauded the owners of classic cars he sold.Texiero was held in a Florida jail until he was transferred to Camp Lejeune in mid-December. Military officials declined to say why they dropped the charges, which carried a possible penalty of three years in prison.Texiero said he left the Marines because he was disturbed by stories of war atrocities in Vietnam.In the military prison, he was assigned to work in the kitchen and ordered to teach inmates how to make beds with tightly tucked sheets.”They tried to make me a Marine. I’m a little long in the tooth to do that stuff. You have to address them by their rank and with my eyes, I couldn’t see the insignia.”Vail, Colorado

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