Saturday, 20 October, 2018

US Air Force Deserter Found After Disappearing For 35 Years

US Air Force Office of Special Investigations US Air Force Office of Special Investigations
Ellis Copeland | 14 June, 2018, 00:01

But it turns out, Tim is actually William Howard Hughes Jr. - an Air Force captain who disappeared in New Mexico 35 years ago while working on classified planning and analysis of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation surveillance systems during the Cold War.

Pictured, William Howard Hughes Jr.in 1983.William Howard Hughes Jr. why did he disappear and where did he go?

Hughes had been involved in classified planning and analysis of NATO's control, command and communications surveillance systems during the Cold War.

Hughes was supposed to travel to the Netherlands in July 1983 to work with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officers on the operations of AWACS electronic surveillance planes.

He had been scheduled to return to the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 1.

Later in 1986, a Los Angeles Times article also speculated that Hughes had defected to the Soviet Union.

Hughes, now 66, was arrested by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations the next day.

He told authorities after his capture Wednesday that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and made a decision to leave, saying he created a fake identity and lived in California since he vanished in 1983. The Air Force didn't say where in California Hughes had lived under the O'Bierne name, or what charges he faces.

Capt Hughes is now being held at Travis Air Force Base in California, a statement from the USAF's office of special investigations said. The Air Force officially declared him deserted in December 1983.

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Prior to his disappearance, Hughes was last seen in New Mexico withdrawing a total of $28,500 from his bank account at 19 different branch locations.

Investigators discovered Captain Hughes' secret identity during a passport fraud investigation and confronted him about inconsistencies regarding his credentials.

A high ranking Air Force officer who had gone missing 35 years ago, was apprehended by officials in California.

Hughes was unmarried at the time, but had three sisters.

U.S. deserters can face a number of charges once they are found, including prison time, being dishonourably discharged and losing pay.

Although in the past, some believed that Hughes had leaked highly confidential information to the Soviet Union, officials believe that no such leak took place.

He had a Top Secret/Single Scope Background Investigation clearance, which meant he had access to USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secret information.

After several rocket ship failures in the USA and France, including the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986, Los Angeles Times journalist Tad Szulc theorised Capt Hughes may have been to blame.

"We do not feel he disappeared voluntarily", Christine Hughes said at the time, according to the Post.

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