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Alleged Air Force deserter worked for University of California, report says

Alleged Air Force deserter worked for University of California, report says
This undated photo released by the U.S. Air Force shows William Howard Hughes, Jr., who was formally declared a deserter by the Air Force Dec. 9, 1983. He was apprehended on June 6. (Associated Press)

An Air Force officer with top security clearance who allegedly deserted 35 years ago and was arrested in California last week worked for years as a consultant for the University of California system, according to a report.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports university system colleagues knew William Howard Hughes Jr. as a personable, brainy number-cruncher for the system's vast health benefits program.

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The Air Force Office of Special Investigations says Hughes was charged with desertion and is being held at Travis Air Force Base in California. They say he was living under the name Barry O'Beirne.

University of California system colleagues say they knew him as a cheerful health benefits actuary and consultant for Deloitte in San Francisco and that he was contracted to work in the office of the system's president during the mid-2000s.

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