According to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), the State Department was recently investigating a man claiming to be "Barry O'Beirne" during a passport fraud inquiry.
His duties included classified planning and analysis of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control and communications surveillance during the Cold War.
Captain William Howard Hughes Jr, now 66, was last seen withdrawing $28,000 (£20,919) from 19 different bank branches in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1983.
He claimed he had been depressed about being in the air force so left and created a false identity.
Hughes' neighbors in Daly City, California, told CNN he went by the name "Tim" and that he lived with a woman they said they believed to be his wife. He was apprehended June 6 by Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agents from Detachment 303, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where he's awaiting pre-trial confinement. He officially went missing in August of that year.
Investigators past year caught a fugitive in Florida who had been living under another identity since 1972.
The US Air Force Office of Special Investigations announced on Tuesday that Captain Hughes had been discovered earlier this month living in California. Hughes may also forfeit all pay that he received while he was part of the Air Force.
Air Force Officer Wanted For Desertion Found After 35 Years On The Run
At the time of his disappearance he had just returned from the Netherlands, where he had been working with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officers.
"That's him but he always had his Giants hat on", she said.
TaskandPurpose reported Hughes' auto being found at the Albuquerque airport and a search of his home in the 1900 block of Chandelle Loop NE revealed notes of planned activities and books to read upon his return. "These include the apparent defection to the Soviet Union in 1983 of the U.S. Air Force's leading expert on rocket self-destruct procedures" - meaning Hughes.
Hughes was unmarried when he disappeared, but the Seattle native had three sisters. There were even rumors he might have been defected to the Soviet Union.
Investigators interviewed friends, associates and coworkers, along with global law enforcement officials after Captain Hughes' disappearance, but were unable to find him.
"Szulc quoted an unidentified intelligence officer who told him, "[Hughes] is worth his weight in gold to the Russians in terms of future 'Star Wars, ' if we have them".
Interviews with Hughes' friends and associates and inquiries with law enforcement agencies in the United States and overseas failed to locate him, the statement said, and he was formally declared a deserter on December 9, 1983.More news: Dancing FBI agent facing charges in accidental shooting
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