In 1984 US Air Force soldier David Hemler became a deserter after he went AWOL from a base in Germany, now 28 years later he has come “back from the dead” after hitchhiking to Sweden where he had built a new life for himself using an alias.
At the age of 21 Hemler says he joined a pacifist church and became disillusioned with the policies of Ronald Reagan which in turn caused him to leave the Air Force base and never return.
Since leaving he has married a Swedish citizen and they have three children together. His family in the meantime believed he had died until he contacted them several weeks ago.
According to the New York Times Hemler contacted Air Force officials about 10 days ago and when asked about his status a spokeswoman for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations said:
“We really want to catch this guy.”
When asked how he would like the scenario to turn out Hemler said:
“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.”
It is still not clear at this time if the Swedish government would be willing to hand the US Air Force deserter over or offer him protection because of his marriage to a Swedish citizen.
According to Hemler he came forward after his youngest daughter turned 2 this year, at that age she could be put in daycare if he was arrested for his actions.