Pfc. Robert R. Garwood, gaunt and withdrawn after 14 years in Southeast Asia, returned to Marine Corps duty here to await the unraveling of charges that he deserted and collaborated with Vietnamese captors against fellow American prisoners of war.
Garwood, 33, of Adams, ind., checked in for duty at Camp Lejeune at 8 a.m., after spending the night in jacksonvile, a low-slung sprawling neon city six miles from the southeast coast.
Garwood was assigned to clerical duties in the Headquarters and Service Battalion, Administrative Control Unit-a job described by his supervisor, Master Sgt. Joseph Harrington, of Wilmington, Mass., as sorting personnel records or "licking stamps" for 241 Marine units in North Carolina and Virginia.
After initial paperwork, Garwood settled in to his three-man quarters in Building 53, a motel-like barracks near the center of Camp Lejeune. He will share the room with Lance Cpl. Michael C. Woods, 21 of San Antonio, and Cpl. Francis McClelland Jr., 20, of Philadelphia.
When Garwood walked abouut the hub of the base, he was escorted by a sergeant from his unit. But Maj. John Woggon, Lejeune public affairs officer, said the escort was not a guard.
The base leadership does not fear for Gorwood's safety, Woggon said. Of bitterness among the personnel, he said, "There are a few of the yonger ones that have been saying some things because they think that is the way they should feel." Special protective measures have been taken, he said.
Pvt. Tim Johnson of Indianapolis, who lives in Garwood's barracks, said he felt no ill will but was unsure whether the controversial presence would cause trouble.
"I've heard a few guys in the chow line say he should be shot," Johnson said. But the more general feeling, said Johnson and other Marines, is to let the military courts air the facts and render judgments.
Garwood has been accused by fellow former POWs of closing ranks with the Vietnamese after his capture near Danang on Sept. 28, 1965. He is charged with five violations of military law, two of which-desertion and collaboration with the enemy-are punishable by death. Garwood has said that he was tortured and forced to remain in Vietnam against his will.
Resolution of the charges could take six or eight months, in the estimate of Dermot M. Foley, a civilian lawyer hired by Garwood's family. Foley said by telephone from his New York office that he hopes for a full-scale court-martial. "There is something more final about an acquittal," he said. "I don't want the charges dropped with a stupid apology that 'We know he did it but we can't prove it.'"