Published On: Wed, Jun 20th, 2012

US deserter David Hemler found in Sweden, AWOL for 28 years

A U.S. deserter named David Hemler has been found after 28 years of being AWOL from the U.S. Air Force. It seems the man, who was one of the U.S. Air Force’s eight most wanted fugitives, was hiding in plain sight in Sweden.

Hemler in the 1981 Corinoma, Annville-Cleona High School's yearbook.

David Hemler, who walked off his Air Force base in Germany in 1984 and hitch-hiked to Sweden, where he has been living under an alias ever since, emerged from hiding. He called family members in the United States and told his story to a Swedish newspaper, expressing his desire to see his family.

“I always figured one day he would show up, but my hopes were starting to fade,” Frank Hemler said on Tuesday. “For 27 ½ years, there was never a hint that he was still alive.”

For nearly 30 years, David A. Hemler says, he has been living a lie in Uppsala, Sweden.

“I never planned on not telling the truth,” the 49-year-old father of three and government worker told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter recently. “I just intended to come to Sweden till I felt better. … It was unthinkable that I’d be here for a long time.”

In 1984, Hemler was a 21-year-old Cleona, Pa., native with the U.S. Air Force. He’d just arrived to the 6913th Electronic Security Squadron in Augsburg, Germany, from a Texas air base.

“I had a lot of problems. The military way of life with its severe limitations didn’t suit me that well,” he said.

A week after he enlisted, Hemler said, he became involved with a peace church but continued with his enlistment because he feared that he’d receive a dishonorable discharge.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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