Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Air Force Captain Found 35 Years After Disappearing

Air Force Captain Found 35 Years After Disappearing

The U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service caught on to Hughes's whereabouts, which were not specified, during a passport fraud investigation, leading them to the man named O'Beirne.

In retrospect, William Howard Hughes, Jr. was maybe not the kind of guy you wanted to guard your national security.

Hughes "was the "lead analyst" of the Command Control and Communication Surveillance Systems at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., which tests new space-related weapons systems", the Times said. Hughes, a Seattle native was arrested without incident on Wednesday.

This undated photo released by the U.S. Air Force shows Capt. William Howard Hughes, Jr., who was formally declared a deserter by the Air Force Dec. 9, 1983. He said he had lived in California since then.

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Hughes has claimed that he was depressed about his time in the Air Force and so chose to leave.

William Howard Hughes Jr. allegedly deserted the Air Force in July 1983 after coming back from temporary duty in Western Europe, the Air Force said. He was last seen in New Mexico withdrawing $28,500 from his bank account at 19 different branch locations, the Air Force said in a statement. In July 1983, Hughes had been assigned to temporary duty in the Netherlands to work with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officers "on the operations of Airborne Warning and Control electronic surveillance aircraft" but never resurfaced after leaving for Europe.

He was supposed to be back in Albuquerque by August of that year. His orders included working with other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officers on the operation of Airborne Warning and Control (AWACS) electronic surveillance aircraft, officials stated.

But Card said no classified information leaks are suspected, nor is there an indication that Hughes was involved with the Soviet Union, but the investigation is ongoing.

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In a 1984 article by the Associated Press, Capt Hughes' family said they believed he had been abducted. Nevertheless speculation persisted that Hughes may have been abducted by or defected to the Soviets.

In 1986, journalist Tad Szulc wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece that at least some intelligence officers "believe that Hughes was either captured by Soviet agents or voluntarily defected to the Soviet Union".

"He is worth his weight in gold to the Russians in terms of future 'Star Wars, ' if we have them", the LA Times quoted an intelligence officer as saying.

"Until we have the whole story, we don't have the story", she told the newspaper.

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Hughes, now 66, was charged with desertion and is being held at Travis Air Force Base in California. He faces up to five years of confinement, forfeiture of all pay and dishonorable discharge from the Air Force.

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