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A U.S. Air Force officer who went missing in 1983 was found last week, living in California. Capt. William Howard Hughes, Jr., who was going by the name Barry O'Beirne, admitted his true identity after becoming the subject of a passport fraud investigation during an interview with the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service on June 5. Hughes, now 66, was arrested by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations the next day. Hughes said he became depressed in the Air Force, created the fictitious identity and has been living in California ever since, according to an Air Force press release. He was last sent overseas, to the Netherlands, on July 18, 1983, to work with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officers. He was supposed to return to Albuquerque, N.M., on Aug. 1 of that year. But the Air Force never heard from him since he left for Europe.
His mysterious disappearance during the Cold War spurred theories that he had been abducted by the Soviet Union or defected to what was then known as the USSR to work against the US. In 1985 and 1986, several French and American rocket ships failed to launch properly and subsequently exploded, including the Challenger space shuttle. In the wake of those disasters, Los Angeles Times journalist Tad Szulc reported in July of 1986 that intelligence officers believed the rockets may have been sabotaged with Hughes' help. "(Intelligence officers) see a clear link between Hughes and possible sabotage of the American and French launches," the newspaper reported then. "He is worth his weight in gold to the Russians in terms of future 'Star Wars,' if we have them," one intelligence officer told the Times.
In a departure from its public position, the French government has concluded that the explosion of its Ariane rocket at the Kourou launch site in French Guinea on May 30 may have been due to sabotage. According to French intelligence officials, the investigation into the Ariane accident has been secretly reopened because, "Initially we had no reason to raise the question of sabotage, but now we have reason to ask that question." France has shared its concerns and suspicions about Ariane with the highest levels of U.S. intelligence--French Defense Minister Andre Giraud is believed to have touched on this topic when he visited Washington last Tuesday and Wednesday--because of the series of catastrophes involving American space launches this year. The French and American accidents are adding up to a bizarre pattern, surrounded by strange coincidences and unexplained events, deeply preoccupying Western intelligence. 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. With the loss of the space shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, a Titan 34-D rocket on April 18, a Delta rocket on May 3 and the French Ariane, all of which carried American reconnaissance satellites, the United States no longer has the capability of putting satellites into orbit to monitor Soviet nuclear deployments and serve as early-warning systems against a ballistic-missile attack. The Challenger and the Delta rocket were launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Titan from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Before the string of 1986 losses, a Titan blew up at Vandenberg last August and an Ariane rocket exploded at Kourou in September.
originally posted by: Mandroid7
I would probably push the wrong buttons with that uni-brow too.
"But, Marsha, Marsha, Russia!"
That's pretty much all I gained from the story.
originally posted by: PokeyJoe
a reply to: schuyler
Any officer is high ranking to an enlisted man. Captains in the Air Force do all kinds of important stuff. In fact, I’d say Captains are probably the guys getting their hands dirty so to speak the most in the officer corps. Once you hit major and above you will move into more Commander roles. Plus, if you are a #ty officer you can remain a Captain until you retire at 20 year of service.