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A man who deserted from the Army nearly 30 years ago was arrested by military and civilian police when he returned to the United States from East Germany. The 30 relatives who came to greet him at the airport here were stunned.

Arnold Kephart, 53, apparently deserted in 1960 after an Army truck he was driving crashed in Heidelberg, West Germany, said his lawyer, James M. Davis. A staff sergeant told Kephart he would be prosecuted, do time in the stockade and have to pay for the truck on his $69-a-month private's salary, the attorney said. The sergeant lied, but Kephart believed him and fled with a girlfriend to East Germany, Davis said.

After leaving the Army, Kephart worked for 30 years as a truck driver in East Germany. He tried to escape three or four times but was caught at the border, Davis said. If convicted by a court-martial, Kephart could receive up to three years in prison.

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