The Air Force Office of Special Investigations said in a news release this week that William Howard Hughes, Jr., was apprehended at his home after a fraud investigation involving a fake identity. He claimed he had been depressed about being in the air force so left and created a false identity. Hughes was single and stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when he disappeared in July 1983. Hughes was supposed to travel to the Netherlands in July 1983 to work with NATO officers on the operations of AWACS electronic surveillance planes. But after supposedly leaving for Europe, he was never seen again.
He had been living in California ever since, he said. Due to his access to classified information he was declared a fugitive and was on a list of the USAF’s seven most wanted individuals. William Howard Hughes Jr.was involved in classified planning and analysis of NATO’s control, command and communications surveillance systems during the Cold War. He specialized in radar surveillance. There’s no indication Hughes was involved with the Soviet Union or that any classified information was leaked. Hughes was charged with desertion.