But federal authorities were interviewing a man named Barry O'Beirne last Tuesday as part of a passport fraud investigation, and when they challenged him over his identity's inconsistencies, he said he was Hughes and had deserted the Air Force in 1983, the news releasesaid.
An undated picture of Capt. William Howard Hughes, Jr. He was working at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
In December 1983, Air Force officials declared Capt. Hughes to be a deserter.
He told authorities after his capture Wednesday that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and chose to leave, saying he created a fake identity and lived in California since he vanished in 1983.
Captain William Howard Hughes Jr, now 66, was last seen withdrawing $28,000 from a bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the summer of 1983.
According to the USAF, his duties included "classified planning and analysis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control and communications surveillance systems". Hughes was expected back on duty from a short stint in Europe on August 1, 1983 but he never reported to duty.
Hughes was assigned to temporary duty in the Netherlands, working with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to test its new Airborne Warning and Control System, created to be used for surveillance, command and control, battle space management and communications. Nevertheless speculation persisted that Hughes may have been abducted by or defected to the Soviets.
He is now being held at Travis air force base awaiting charges. If convicted, he might face maximum penalties of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and confinement of five years.
In a 1986 Los Angeles Times commentary titled "Sabotaged Missile Launches?" for example, the former longtime New York Times foreign correspondent Tad Szulc wrote: "The French and American accidents are adding up to a freaky pattern, surrounded by unusual coincidences and unexplained events, deeply preoccupying Western intelligence".
Told one of Hughes' three sisters at the time, 'We do not feel he disappeared voluntarily'.
Mr Szulc also said an intelligence officer told him Capt Hughes was "worth his weight in gold to the Russians in terms of future "Star Wars".
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. "Until we have the whole story, we don't have the story".
In the years after Hughes went missing, a slew of NASA catastrophes, such as the space shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986, as well as the explosion of the Ariane rocket in French Guinea, caused national security commentators to speculate whether the disasters were related and possibly the result of Soviet sabotage.
After all, the rules on net neutrality have changed multiple times already - six times in the last 10 years, in fact. And while net neutrality is polarizing, it is an example of a regulation that both companies and consumers agree on.
The Boring Company is a tunnel construction business founded in 2016 to provide the infrastructure for an underground Hyperloop. The devices - priced at $500 - generated $10 million in sales for the company during its pre-sales earlier this year.
The sanctions freeze any assets that those targeted may have in USA jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them. Hacks in the runup to the U.S. presidential election in 2016 are also linked to Russian Federation .
After lots of speculation that the new "B" stood for "breakfast", the chain has announced that "B" stands for " burgers ". With this move, IHOP follows a recent trend of restaurant chains tapping into markets outside of their specialties.
Ubisoft acknowledged Odyssey's existence by dropping a brief teaser last month after details about AC: Odyssey were leaked . Like the past several games in the series, you'll control boats and horses on your journey of assassination and discovery.
We did our work. "I'm very pleased we came together on an ambitious joint communiqué at the end of this Charlevoix summit". Well, what he said over the weekend is exactly what he's been saying since the US -imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Martin-who co-created the project with Goodman-has suggested an ominous-sounding title for Thrones' first successor show. All of the successor shows we've been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before.
Anthony Bourdain's 11-year-old daughter performed in a concert just days after her father died of an apparent suicide in France . McGowan also opened up about Bourdain's relationship with her close friend and fellow #MeToo advocate Asia Argento.
The annual G-7 summit appeared to have weathered tensions over President Donald Trump's threats of a trade war. MarketWatch has pointed out that Trump has significantly overstated the US trade deficit with the EU.
Trump boasted Saturday that he will be able to deduce nearly immediately whether Kim is serious about the prospect of disarmament. Tensions between the two countries escalated in 2017 after Pyongyang stepped up efforts to boost its nuclear weapons programme.
The Major League Soccer side are part of the City Football Group founded by Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour. He was captain of the team that went undefeated in winning the 2003-04 Premier League title.
Nadal, Thiem ready for tough final showdown
After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the past 17 games. He appeared to be in near peak form against del Potro - once the all important first set went in his favor.
New Anthem cinematic trailer is here to blow your minds!
E3 2018 is finally here! There will be cosmetics and vanity items available for purchase, but there will be no loot boxes . This Indie game Sea of Solitude , which has been in development for the past three years, got a new trailer at E3.
Egypt frees 32 Ethiopian prisoners during PM's visit
When President Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia's aspiration for development through the new dam. Diplomatic tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia have seen on the rise since the dam project started in 2011.
The most exciting games from Square Enix's E3 showcase
The video talks us through the new additions to Just Cause 4 , the most prominent of these being the extreme weather system. Being published by Square Enix , Babylon's Fall is heading for PC and PlayStation 4 sometime in 2019.
PICTURE: Trump sits defiant against G7 leaders
She also said the U.S. president wasn't entirely wrong in pressing Germany to increase defence spending. We can't pose a security threat to the United States, and I know that Americans understand that.