Man arrested in Florida after going AWOL from military 45 years ago

Absent Without Leave for more than 45 years, an elderly man is under arrest in Ocala, Fla.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, who has been living as 65-year-old William Robertson, is actually 75-year-old Linley Lemburg, who has been listed as AWOL from the Air Force since 1972.

Lemburg’s charade crumbled Tuesday when his home was surrounded by marked, and unmarked, law-enforcement vehicles and residents discovered Lemburg — aka Robertson — was accused of desertion more than 45 years ago.

The investigation into Lemburg’s whereabouts began when the Air Force Office of Special Investigations contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office asking investigators to help track down the suspect.

Investigators discovered Lemburg was living with his wife, deputies said.

He was taken to the sheriff’s office where his fingerprints were compared to Air Force records from his 1960 enlistment.

Once his identity was confirmed, Lemburg was taken into custody by the Air Force and was transported to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Neighbors were in disbelief as they watched Limburg being taken away.

“I actually saw Bill while it was going on and said, ‘What’s going on?’” neighbor Bud Morrison told WFTV News. “And he didn’t say anything.”


According to public records, Lemburg purchased the Ocala home with his wife in 2005 under the alias William Michael Robertson.

WFTV News reports the Air Force has not released any information on how Lemburg was located or what charges he faces in connection with his the desertion.

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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