Military deserter shows up after 28 years missing. Will he be extradited and tried?

Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru 2012/06/20 14:09:58
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STOCKHOLM, June 17 (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force deserter
who has lived secretly in Sweden since 1984 has revealed his identity
and contacted his family in the United States who were overwhelmed to
hear he was still alive, a Swedish newspaper reported at the weekend.

Nyheter said David Hemler had deserted aged 21 while serving at a U.S.
Air Force base in Germany, after getting involved with a pacifist
church and becoming disillusioned with the policies of former President
Ronald Reagan.

He hitchhiked via Denmark to
Sweden where he settled down, living under an assumed name for the last
28 years and not revealing his true identity to anyone.

never planned on not telling the truth in the beginning. I intended to
come to Sweden until I felt better (after his experience in the
airforce), I expected a week or so," Hemler told the newspaper in a
video on its website.

Now aged 49, he is married
to a woman from Thailand, has three children and works for a Swedish
government agency, but would not let the newspaper print his assumed

After his desertion, he became one of the
U.S. Air Force's eight most wanted fugitives, according to the
newspaper, and had expected at any time to be arrested by military
police with both Interpol and Europol looking for him.

told the newspaper he had missed his parents after he deserted but
went on to have a child and had not wanted to be separated from her.

had decided to come forward after his third daughter turned two and
could go to day care, so his wife would be better able to cope if he
was arrested.

He first contacted his U.S. family
four weeks ago, speaking to his brother Thomas who was in Massachusetts
at the time on a business trip.


heard immediately it was David, even if he had a strange European
accent after all these years," Thomas Hemler, who lives in New Jersey,
was quoted on Sunday as saying.

He said he had
asked questions to confirm the man was indeed his brother David.
Members of his family in the United States are now planning to visit
him in Sweden.

The website of the U.S. Air Force
Office of Special Investigations lists Hemler, who was born in
Pennsylvania, as having deserted on February 10, 1984 from the 6913th
Electronic Security Squadron in Augsburg, Germany.

Air Force Fugitives page shows a photo of Hemler as a young man, and a
photo digitally enhanced to show how he might look aged 47.

The newspaper said Hemler was registered in Sweden as a citizen of an unknown country who was born in Zurich.

His lawyer, Emma Persson, told Reuters he had approached her firm for legal advice about a month ago.

opinion is that he will not lose his permanent residence permit in
Sweden, it is very unlikely," she said. She also thought it unlikely he
would be extradited to the United States.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/17/david-hem...

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Top Opinion

  • Schläue~© 2012/06/20 14:20:36
    Yes he will be arrested and tried.
    He should be.
    There were plenty of other avenues he could have taken to separate from the military, especially considering we were not in any major conflicts in 1984 and he had initially enlisted.

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  • Aahz_OneAndOnly 2012/06/24 00:06:09
    No he wont be .
    He's a DESERTER Let SWEDEN keep him AND DON'T COME BACK...
  • Vision of Verve 2012/06/21 18:44:23
  • beach bum 2012/06/21 03:22:32
    No he wont be .
    beach bum
    i don't know if there is a statute of limitations
    depends on what is in the ucmj
  • Charles E 2012/06/21 00:35:14
    No he wont be .
    Charles E
    Obama/Holder won't even try and I doubt any other president would risk the PR beatdown he would get from the liberal media for even trying.
  • Sgt Major B 2012/06/20 18:18:58 (edited)
    No he wont be .
    Sgt Major B
    Highly doubtful that he'd be tried. More likely he'll be 'discharged in lieu of Court-martial' which generally entails a Discharge Under Other than Honorable Conditions (UOHC).

    (Original comment was incorrect - BCD can only be adjudged by Court-martial)
  • nightcr... Sgt Maj... 2012/06/21 00:42:52
    Totally agree. That's what they would do up here in Canada. Just demote him back to private and give him a dishonourable discharge.
  • Sgt Maj... nightcr... 2012/06/21 01:02:52
    Sgt Major B
    Unfortunately, a Dishonorable or Bad Conduct Discharge for US forces can only be adjudged by a court-martial. Still, an UOHC separation would leave him with virtually no benefits, and those would be determined by the VA.
  • Stryder 2012/06/20 18:03:01 (edited)
    No he wont be .
    They won't try him. They'll hold him in the brig until his discharge authority is received and he'll most likely just get a Bad Conduct discharge. When I worked in Separations while I was in the Navy we had returned desserters from even greater lengths of time than that. We just held them and booted them. No court martials or NJP. If he's not extradited, they'll discharge him in absentia.
  • BlueMax372 2012/06/20 17:56:13
    No he wont be .
    Not with the current administration.
  • Freeranger 2012/06/20 17:46:38
    Yes he will be arrested and tried.
    He'll be tried, and convicted of desertion, and given a dishonorable discharge I'm sure, which to me, is his due.
    Let him go back to Sweden. That he turned his back on his family makes him a low life over and above his desertion.
  • Daryl 2012/06/20 17:42:16
    No he wont be .
    We let draft dodgers be president (Clinton, not Bush) so why would a deserter be any different?
  • Charles E Daryl 2012/06/21 00:40:31
    Charles E
    Maybe the Democrats will nominate him instead of the disaster we have now.
  • Schläue~© 2012/06/20 14:20:36
    Yes he will be arrested and tried.
    He should be.
    There were plenty of other avenues he could have taken to separate from the military, especially considering we were not in any major conflicts in 1984 and he had initially enlisted.
  • Charles E Schläue~© 2012/06/21 00:39:42
    Charles E
    I doubt thet Sweeden would even consider extraditing him. Any punishment will be "in absentia".

    The worst punishment, in my opinion, is that he will never be able to return to the US.
    But that didn't seem to bother him during the last three decades.

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