William Howard Hughes, Jr., was apprehended at his home after a fraud investigation involving a fake identity he had been using.
Hughes 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.
Hughes, a captain, was 33 years old and single when he vanished. He told authorities after his capture Wednesday that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and decided to leave. He created a fake identity and lived in California ever since.
He was charged with desertion and is being held at Travis Air Force Base in California.