Missing Air Force officer found 35 years after going missing missing

A U.S. Air Force officer who went missing in 1983 was found last week, living in California.

Before he mysteriously disappeared and landed on the Air Force Most Wanted list, Capt. William Howard Hughes Jr. phoned home to tell his mother and father that he was going to the Netherlands.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations said in a news release this week that it had captured William Howard Hughes, Jr., at his home after a fraud investigation involving a fake identity he had been using. He was last seen withdrawing more than $28,000 in Albuquerque in summer 1983 after returning from a two-week vacation in Europe.

According to the USAF, his duties included "classified planning and analysis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control and communications surveillance systems".

He is being held at the Travis Air Force Base in California. He was officially declared a deserter by the Air Force on December 9 of that year.

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

An Office of Special Investigations spokeswoman told the Albuquerque Journal that there's no indication Hughes was involved with the Soviet Union or that any classified information was leaked.

An undated picture of Capt. William Howard Hughes, Jr.




Card said Hughes' family has been notified of his apprehension, but it is unknown whether they had been in contact with him or knew his whereabouts.

The veteran specialized in radar surveillance. He told authorities that he had been depressed about being in the military and had fled to California, creating the fictitious identity.

Hughes apparently lived in California under the assumed identity of Barry O'Beirne.

In 1986, three years after his disappearance, journalist Tad Szulc wrote a piece published in the Los Angeles Times that referred to Hughes' "apparent defection" to the Soviet Union. The family have now been notified. He faces up to five years of confinement, forfeiture of all pay and dishonorable discharge from the Air Force.

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. "Among his responsibilities was the training of range officers in charge of destroying rockets malfunctioning after launch".

"He is worth his weight in gold to the Russians in terms of future 'Star Wars, ' if we have them", Szulc quotes an unidentified intelligence officer as telling him.

"We do not feel he disappeared voluntarily", his sister, Christine Hughes, said in a 1984 Associated Press article, according to USA Today.

Recommended News

  • Disputes over trade tariffs, Russian Federation overshadow G7 meeting

    And at the same time, the USA president seems more at home with autocrats than with Washington's traditional allies. He and Trudeau discussed the notion of a bilateral deal when they met Friday, according to a White House statement.
    New evacuations near Guatemala volcano set off panic

    New evacuations near Guatemala volcano set off panic

    According to volcanologists, eruption records of Fuego volcano, one of the country's most active volcanoes , dates back to 1542. These funds will help "Guatemala Red Cross support 3,000 of the most vulnerable survivors for three months", they added.
    First Man poster unveils Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong

    First Man poster unveils Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong

    Ryan Gosling is blasting off! Ryan Gosling is heading into outer space - for his upcoming biopic, First Man . Get ready for yet another trailer that gives away the ending.
  • Warriors' third title in four years seemed inevitable

    Warriors' third title in four years seemed inevitable

    If LeBron can't make history by coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the NBA Finals , this will likely be the last time he'll wear a Cavs uniform.
    Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain kills himself

    Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain kills himself

    He graduated from the renowned school Culinary Institute of America in 1978 and began running kitchens in his early adult years. His show, " No Reservations ", won two Emmy Awards, and the show he was now working on, " Parts Unknown " is in its 11 season.
    Sandra Bullock on Bonding with All-Female 'Ocean's 8' Cast

    Sandra Bullock on Bonding with All-Female 'Ocean's 8' Cast

    She added that it was definitely "a hard pill to swallow" when she realized that the industry was not immune to sexism . The world premiere of Ocean's 8 took place in NY on June 7. "And it doesn't just take five people to make a movie.
  • Trump says USA  not to endorse G7 communique

    Trump says USA not to endorse G7 communique

    While Trump's relationship with some of the G7 members has reportedly been tense, one quickly came to his defense. Trump is heading to Singapore, where he is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un .
    US Reaches Deal With China's ZTE - Secretary of Commerce

    US Reaches Deal With China's ZTE - Secretary of Commerce

    While it did fire the four employees, the company admitted to making false statements about the others, handing out full bonuses. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that ZTE will pay a $1 billion fine for its recent violations.

    Sharapova hits back at Serena after French Open mauling

    This is the first all-American French Open semi-final since 2002, when Serena Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati en route to the title.
  • Nabil Fekir: Liverpool target staying at Lyon, say Ligue 1 club

    Nabil Fekir: Liverpool target staying at Lyon, say Ligue 1 club

    He came on in the second half of that game, which was at Lyon's home ground, to a great reception from the home fans. However, it would appear Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas is likely to sell Fekir after the World Cup .
    Avengers 4 concept art leaked; reveals interesting theories

    Avengers 4 concept art leaked; reveals interesting theories

    Infinity War is also now at $1.974 billion through Tuesday and is expected to cross the $2 billion mark early next week. These include: The Hulk , Spider-Man , Black Panther , Captain Marvel , Baby Groot, Black Widow , Thor and more.
    Scott grabs US Open berth, 9 Aussies are in

    Scott grabs US Open berth, 9 Aussies are in

    Among those who failed to qualify were Vijay Singh and 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann, who contended last week at the Memorial. The event consisted of 36 holes played in one day with Millar finishing seven shots behind the final qualifier Paul Waring.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.