Time runs out on AF deserter

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • AFOSI Public Affairs

It took 45 years but justice finally caught up to an Air Force deserter.

On March 21, 2017 Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 340 special agents from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., informed the Marion County Sherriff’s Office they had an arrest warrant for Staff Sgt. Linley Benson Lemburg who had been a deserter since March 14, 1972.

Lemburg, himself an OSI Special Agent from 1968 until his desertion, was walking approximately two blocks from his Ocala, Fla., residence where he was detained and asked if he was Lemburg. While in custody, Lemburg asked his wife to show the sheriff’s deputies his driver’s license that stated his name was William Michael Robertson, the alias OSI Special Agent Taylor Wrenn advised the deputies Lemburg was going by.

“A review of historical documents and coordination with other state agencies indicated that Robertson is an alias being used by the subject (Lemburg),” SA Wrenn said.

OSI placed Lemburg in a vehicle taking him to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office where he was fingerprinted.

“Their latent fingerprint examiners rolled two sets of ink fingerprints and compared them to the original fingerprints obtained from the subject (Lemburg) in 1960,” said Special Agent Ryan Music, Det. 340 Criminal Branch Chief. “They confirmed the prints obtained from Robertson were a positive match to the subject.”

After SA Wrenn advised the subject of his rights, Lemburg admitted he was, in fact, Lemburg and he destroyed his badge and credentials in 1972.

Lemburg had financial and marital problems in the months preceding his disappearance. He was separated from his wife since late 1971 and had filed for a divorce.    

Sherriff’s deputies had the duty judge review and sign the search warrant provided by Special Agent Wrenn for Lemburg’s home. There, Lemburg directed agents to a safe where he kept all of the documents used to obtain and maintain his false identity. Following OSI’s search, Lemburg was driven to MacDill by Det. 340 agents.

As the closest military installation to where Lemburg was found, MacDill authorities are investigating the allegations associated with Lemburg’s case, which is still under investigation. Lemburg is assigned to the 6th Comptroller Squadron at MacDill pending court martial proceedings.

Lemburg officially went absent without leave while assigned to AFOSI District 2, Det. 212, Philadelphia, Pa., on Feb. 14, 1972. After 30 days passed he was officially declared a deserter.

“Barring any unanticipated developments, Staff Sgt. Lemburg will be charged with desertion under Article 85, UCMJ vice Article 86, AWOL, wrote Lt. Col. Roger McIllece, Staff Judge Advocate, 6th Mobility Wing, at MacDill. “Although he initially went AWOL on Feb. 14, 1972, his status was subsequently changed to deserter, and he now faces a criminal charge under Article 85 for desertion.”