Friday, August 22, 2003

Marine assigned
to Kaneohe shoots self

Adam Welter, a lance corporal,
did not want to be sent overseas

MINNEAPOLIS >> A Hawaii-bound Marine admitted to shooting himself in the shoulder because he feared that he eventually would be shipped overseas, according to Marine Corps officials.

The officials said they are considering what charges, if any, should be filed against Lance Cpl. Adam Welter.

"The first thing we're going to do is send a Marine to his house," Gunnery Sgt. Mike Giannetti, a spokesman for the U.S. Marine Corps, said yesterday. "We're going to find out what's going on. Every case is going to be a little bit different. Our primary concern is the Marine himself."

Welter originally told authorities he had been shot while trying to help a stranded motorist early Monday morning, but admitted Tuesday that he shot himself in the left shoulder to avoid being shipped overseas.

He recently graduated from the Naval Tech Training Center in Pensacola, Fla., and had been home in Andover, Minn., on leave since Aug. 1. Welter, who specialized in signals intelligence such as Morse code, was scheduled to depart later Monday to meet up with the 3rd Radio Battalion at Kaneohe Bay, Giannetti said.

It was unclear how long he might be stationed in Hawaii before being sent elsewhere, if he was to be sent elsewhere at all.

"That's their home base," Giannetti said. "Everybody may or not be deployed."

It was not clear what penalties Welter might face.

"There's numerous things that he could probably be charged with," Giannetti said.

A military law expert said Welter, who enlisted in October, could face a court-martial for faking a disability to avoid his duties. Called "malingering," the charge carries a maximum punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeited pay and allowances, and up to 10 years' confinement.

Welter also could face civilian penalties, including giving a false statement to police. It was not immediately clear if civilian or military charges would be filed first, Giannetti said.

Calls to the Welter family were not returned.

Welter was treated and released from the hospital and was expected to make a full recovery from his injury.


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