LOS ANGELES, JUNE 9 -- A Vietnam war deserter who spent 17 years on the run in Australia was taken into custody today when he returned to the United States to surrender, hoping to visit his sick father in Vermont.

Douglas Beane, 39, a native of Rochester, Vt., arrived from Sydney, Australia, at Los Angeles International Airport and was met by military guards, who took him out a private exit.

Beane, a private first class in the Marine Corps, was to be taken to Quantico Marine Corps Base where authorities are to decide disposition of his case. It could range from discharge to court-martial, a Marine spokesman said. Beane went absent without leave Feb. 28, 1970, two weeks before his tour of duty was to end. At the time, he faced seven charges that included dealing in the black market and threatening to kill another Marine.

He made his way to Australia, where he married and had two sons with his wife, Karen. His father, Donald Beane, of Rutland, Vt., is said to be disabled with circulatory ailments and other problems.

The Marine spokesman said Beane could be free in 21 to 30 days if officials decide to discharge him. He could face execution if convicted of desertion but, the spokesman said, "the likelihood of that is probably pretty remote."