Long-time Air Force Deserter Comes Forward

David Hemler, who deserted the Air Force in February 1984 and has lived secretly in Sweden since then, has come forward, revealing his identify and contacting his family back in the United States, according to press reports. Hemler was 21 when he left his unit, the 6913th Electronic Security Squadron in Augsburg, Germany, and began living under an assumed name in Sweden after becoming disillusioned, reported Reuters June 17. He has been one of the Air Force’s top fugitives. Now 49, Hemler decided the time was right to come forward, though his is unsure of his fate. “My dream scenario is that the responsible authorities realize I have already been punished quite severely for my actions. . . . I have been living 28 years in lies,” he said, reported Reuters. Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Jennifer Spires told the Daily Report June 18 that Hemler’s matter is under investigation. “While the investigation continues, it is inappropriate for the Air Force to discuss the specifics of Senior Airman Hemler’s case,” she said. “The Air Force works in every case to ensure the subject of, and parties to, an investigation are not unfairly prejudiced by publicity.”