Two college students were thrown into the brig and could face desertion charges after failing to show up when their Marine Corps Reserve unit left for a Persian Gulf deployment, officials said.

James E. Summers Jr., 20, and Demetrio R. Perez, 21, longtime best friends and roommates in Gainesville, surrendered at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Wednesday and asked for conscientious-objector status."We're confident we are doing the right thing," Perez said.

"I am following my conscience," Summers said, "and that comes first."

Maring Maj. Reggie White in Jacksonville said they were processed in Jacksonville and then taken to Camp LeJeune, N.C., for possible court-martial "for their 29-day deserter status."

Maj. Bill Grein, a Marine spokesman in New Orleans, said the two will probably be held in the brig until they can speak with their commanding officer.