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Transgendered ex-Marine given discharge after 1980s desertion

January 14, 2013 |  2:55 pm

Elizabeth Tremblay, a transgendered former Marine, has received a discharge under honorable conditions after deserting decades ago.

A Marine from Maine who deserted three decades ago and later underwent sex change treatment will receive a general discharge under honorable conditions, according to the Marine's hometown newspaper.

The Marine, then known as Donald Tremblay, deserted in 1981 after graduating from boot camp in San Diego and being assigned to the base at Twentynine Palms, according to the Sun Journal newspaper.

Later, Tremblay underwent sex change treatment and changed his name to Elizabeth Tremblay, the newspaper reported. Now 57, Tremblay was arrested at home in the community of Poland in September on a fugitive warrant.

Tremblay was kept for several days in Androscoggin County jail, the newspaper reported. On Monday, Tremblay was notified that the Marine Corps will issue a general discharge under honorable conditions, a common decision in decades-old desertion cases that do not involve violence or other criminality.

According to the newspaper, Tremblay deserted in a dispute over a job assignment, not any concern about sexual identity.

Only later did Tremblay make a decision about sexual identity. "I started thinking about my life and why I really didn't want to lift weights and stuff like that," the Sun Journal quoted Tremblay as saying.

The question of why an old fugitive warrant appeared on the county sheriff's computer is unclear. Tremblay mentioned several previous stops by law enforcement, "you know, speeding tickets and things like that," without the warrant being noticed.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Tremblay worked as a weaver for a company in Lewiston, Maine, that produces bedspreads, according to the Sun Journal. Injured in an automobile accident, Tremblay is now on disability.

Tremblay expressed no animosity toward the Marine Corps. "The only thing they had on me was desertion," Tremblay told the newspaper. "Other than that, I was a good Marine."


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Elizabeth Tremblay. Credit: Sun Journal