Air Force officer found 35 years after going missing

Missing Air Force officer who created fake identity found 35 years later

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.

A former Air Force officer with top security clearance who disappeared 35 years ago has been found in California. He was charged with desertion after being arrested at his home following a fraud investigation involving a fake identity he had been using. The once high-ranking Kirtland Air Force Base officer, William Howard Hughes Jr., was 33 years old and involved in classified planning of NATO’s command and communications surveillance systems when he vanished in 1983. He was last seen withdrawing more than $28,000 from a bank in Albuquerque in 1983, shortly after he returned from a two-week European vacation. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations said there was no indication that Hughes had any ties to the former Soviet Union or leaked classified information.

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