RECENTLY FOUND HEROES

 

from ALL PAST WARS

 

 

HONOR THE DEAD BY HELPING THE LIVING”

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

"Returning with Honor"
March 03, 2017

KHAMMOUANE, Laos --

With 1,614 service members missing in action from the Vietnam War, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) deploys hundreds of service members,
DoD civilians, and contractors all over the world in hopes of returning our nation’s fallen heroes.

Recently a team of 59 personnel completed DPAA’s second Laos mission of fiscal year 2017, covering the Central East region of Laos. From rice patties to mountainsides,
the teams excavated thousands of square meters of land recovering important evidence relating to missing servicemen lost during the war.

“I’m very honored to have been part of this initiative to bring our missing home,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Walgenbach,
recovery non-commissioned officer. “This mission has been the most unique part of my 13 year career in the military and I know others feel the same way.”

Every team member plays an important role in mission success. Whether that is the recovery non-commissioned officer setting up the sites,
or the recovery leader collecting scientific data, working together ensures nothing is overlooked and the safety of the team remains number one priority.

Due to the efforts of the teams, Laos representatives handed over possible remains to the U.S. to be repatriated and welcomed back on American soil after 48 years.
Upon arrival the possible remains will be transported to DPAA’s laboratory for examination and possible identification.

“During this mission I have worked along side some of the greatest men and women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting,
and being chosen for the repatriation ceremony was a perfect way to end such a great mission,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Andrew Brod,
recovery non-commissioned officer. “It is truly an honor to be bringing closure to the families of our fallen service members.”

The hard work and continued dedication of these teams makes it possible for DPAA to fulfill our nations promise and
provide fullest possible accounting for our missing service members to their families and the nation.

 

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ameil Fredeluces, edic, and U.S. Marine Corps. Staff Sgt. Eddie Ludwig, explosive ordinance disposal technician,
remove dirt from units during excavation operations as part of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s mission in the Khammouane Province, Laos,
January 29, 2017.  Recovery Team Three executed excavation operations in search of two missing U.S. Air Force pilots who crashed while on a visual
reconnaissance mission during the Vietnam War over 48 years ago. DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting
for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.

 

Members of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency dig units during excavation operations as part of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s
mission in the Khammouane Province, Laos, January 26, 2017. Recovery Team Three executed excavation operations in search of two missing
U.S. Air Force pilots who crashed while on a visual reconnaissance mission during the Vietnam War over 48 years ago. DPAA’s mission is to provide the
fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.

 

Jack Kenkeo, life support investigator, shovels dirt from the screening stations during excavation operations as part of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s
mission in the Khammouane Province, Laos, January 23, 2017. Recovery Team Three executed excavation operations in search of two missing U.S. Air Force pilots
who crashed while on a visual reconnaissance mission during the Vietnam War over 48 years ago.
DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.

 

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Francis Sangiamvongse, linguist, screens soil with local villagers during excavation operations as part of the Defense POW/MIA
Accounting Agency’s mission in the Khammouane Province, Laos, January 29, 2017. Recovery Team Three executed excavation operations in search
of two missing U.S. Air Force pilots who crashed while on a visual reconnaissance mission during the Vietnam War over 48 years ago.
DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.

 

Lynn Rakos, scientific recovery expert, waters hard soil to help with excavation operations as part of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s mission
in the Khammovan Province, Laos, January 23, 2017. Recovery Team three executed excavation operations in search of two missing U.S. Air Force pilots
who crashed while on a visual reconnaissance mission during the Vietnam War over 48 years ago.
DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.

 

In March of 2017, Making the effort to thank the troops for what they do out in the field means everything.
With a DPAA recovery team in Quang Nam Province, two hours west of Da Nang, Vietnam.

 

 

Disappearance of two Madison airmen in 1953 remains a mystery

The unsolved case called "one of the most enduring mysteries of the Great Lakes"
has been the subject of numerous articles and a film on Canadian television.

The UW-Madison story involved a group of six students and staff members who were part of a team that unearthed a World War II U.S. fighter aircraft—
and possibly remains of its pilot—in the ground under a farm field in France this summer.

The team used ground-penetrating radar and a photo taken by a British reconnaissance plane two days after the May, 1944
crash of the P-47 Thunderbolt flown by 1st Lt. Frank Fazekas.

 

 

 

Search underway for Lakewood, Ohio airman of World War II

Search underway for Lakewood, Ohio airman of World War II.
Divers of the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and Civil Defense of Grado, Italy,
prepare for an exploratory dive on the sunken B-24 bomber. 

This B-24 Liberator is the same type of airplane that
Lakewood, Ohio airman Thomas McGraw was flying in when it was shot down and crashed off the coast of Italy during World War II.

A Missing Air Crew Report details the last flight of the B-24 and nose gunner Thomas McGraw of Lakewood, Ohio.
B-24 located in Adriatic; Crewmanis bones sought Ught Lakewood Manis remains crewman Omber crew,am2-2k-28 bold Header from A1.
 

A skull fragment was recovered at the site of a wrecked B-24 bomber
off the coast of Italy that may contain the remains of
Thomas McGraw, of Lakewood, Ohio.

An underwater view of the crash site of a B-24 off Grado, Italy.

 

 

 

FINDING ENSIGN HAROLD P. DeMOSS IN THE MUCK AND MIRE

“Seeing those photos was so overwhelming that I cried like a baby”
said DeMoss’ niece, Judy Ivey. “To see this actually taking place
is not anything I ever really expected.”

Anine-person military team has been digging up mud four days a week
in the Koolau range in search of a missing World War II pilot whose
fighter crashed in cloud cover during a night training flight.

A bucket-and-pulley system was set up to move excavated
material to a spot where it can be bundled in tarps for
helicopter transport to Wheeler Army Airfield.

NOTE: The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery said in a 1948 letter
to the family that “an attempt to recover the remains was
considered impracticable” because the site was 7 miles
from a traveled highway in the mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

On Feb. 25, 1944, Duran wasn’t supposed to be on the doomed B-24H Liberator, nicknamed “Knock it Off.”
Normally a nose turret gunner, Duran was the substitute tail turret gunner on the flight, replacing the usual tail gunner who had frostbite.

 

The earth by the headstone next to the church in this tiny mountain village was full of rocks.

 

Two days of digging under a hot sun had yielded buckets of gravel, stones the size of men’s fists and many piles of dirt – but no bones.
After 73 years, Sgt. Alfonso O. Duran was still missing.

The family feels a sense of closure regardless of the outcome, Duran said.
“What a difference it would have made to my father and to my aunt,”
she said, “to know he had died and somebody had buried him and tended the grave.”

 

 


 

USS Arizona BB-39

USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state's recent admission into the union, the ship was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of "super-dreadnought" battleships. Although commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside during World War I. Shortly after the end of the war, Arizona was one of a number of American ships that briefly escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. The ship was sent to Turkey in 1919 at the beginning of the Greco-Turkish War to represent American interests for several months. Several years later, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and remained there for the rest of her career.

Aside from a comprehensive modernization in 1929–31, 
Arizona was regularly used for training exercises between the wars, including the annual Fleet Problems (training exercises). When an earthquake struck Long Beach, California, in 1933, Arizona's crew provided aid to the survivors. Two years later, the ship was featured in a Jimmy Cagney film, Here Comes the Navy, about the romantic troubles of a sailor. In April 1940, she and the rest of the Pacific Fleet were transferred from California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a deterrent to Japanese imperialism.

During the 
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Arizona was bombed. After a bomb detonated in a powder magazine, the battleship exploded violently and sank, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen. Unlike many of the other ships sunk or damaged that day, Arizona was irreparably damaged by the force of the magazine explosion, though the Navy removed parts of the ship for reuse. The wreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on 30 May 1962 to all those who died during the attack, straddles the ship's hull.

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma BB-37 

The USS Oklahoma was on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. That was the morning that the Japanese Empire attacked the United States by surprise.

The Japanese used dive–bombers, fighter–bombers, and torpedo planes to sink nine ships, including five battleships, and severely damage 21 ships.
There were 2,402 US deaths from the attack. 1,177 of those deaths were from the USS Arizona, while 429 of the deaths were from the USS Oklahoma.

The crew of the USS Oklahoma did everything they could to fight back. In the first ten minutes of the battle, though, eight torpedoes hit the Oklahoma, and she began to capsize.  A ninth torpedo would hit her as she sunk in the mud.  14 Marines, and 415 sailors would give their lives. 32 men were cut out through the hull while the others were beneath the waterline.  Banging could be heard for over 3 days and then there was silence.

After the battle, the Navy decided that they could not salvage the Oklahoma due to how much damage she had received.  The difficult savage job began in March 1943, and Oklahoma entered dry dock 28 December. Decommissioning  September 1, 1944, Oklahoma was stripped of guns and superstructure, and sold December 5, 1946 to Moore Drydock Co., Oakland, Calif. Oklahoma parted her tow line and sank May 17, 1947.  540 miles out, bound from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco.  Today, there is a memorial to the USS Oklahoma and the 429 sailors and marines lost on December 7, 1941, located on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

 

Ford Island is seen in this aerial view during the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor December 7, 1941 in Hawaii.
(The photo was taken from a Japanese plane.)

 

 

Remember the fallen: In all, 429 people on board the battleship were killed in the attack.
Only 35 were identified in the years immediately after.

 

 

Battleship USS Oklahoma unturned hull at the bottom of Pearl Harbor
after the devastating Japanese bombing attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

 

                                                                                                                      

 

 

                                                                                                   The North Texans of Pearl Harbor
                                                                                                      

                                                                                       Their obituaries tell of lives cut short – and of lives well lived.

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor

 

 

 

 

 

THE KOREAN WAR, 1950-1957

 

 

 

 

 

Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII from MICHIGAN - 2471
 

Service Personnel Not Recovered Following Korea from MICHIGAN - 341
 

Service Personnel Not Recovered Following Cold War from MICHIGAN - 4
 

Service Personnel Not Recovered Following Viet Nam from MICHIGAN - 48
 

 


 

RECENTLY FOUND
 HEROES in 2018

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
June 19
, 2018

Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class John H. Schoonover, 39

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from World War II have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class John H. Schoonover, 39, of Port Edwards, Wisconsin, accounted for on Aug. 14, 2017, will be buried June 26 in Pensacola, Florida. On Dec. 7, 1941, Schoonover was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Schoonover. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Schoonover.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Schoonover’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.

 

Currently there are 73,200 service members still unaccounted for from World War II.

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 15, 2018

Army Staff Sgt. Leo J. Husak, 21,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Staff Sgt. Leo J. Husak, 21, of West, Texas, accounted for on February 12, will be buried June 23 in his hometown. In January 1945, Husak was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division, serving in the European theater. Husak was killed during a combat patrol on Jan. 30, 1945 in Germany’s Hürtgen Forest. The offensive in the forest was one of the longest battles the United States fought during World War II, lasting for nearly five months. 

Due to the ongoing fighting, Husak’s remains were not recovered by members of his unit during the battle. After the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) collected hundreds of unknown sets of remains from battlefields in Germany, and labeled each set with an X-number. One set of remains, designated X-1043 Margraten, had been recovered from an area in the Hürtgen Forest where Husak was believed to have been killed. The AGRC was unable to identify the remains and buried them at Margraten in June 1945 as an unknown. 

In March 1947, personnel from the AGRC reprocessed the remains but were unable to associate the remains with any American service members. They were again reinterred in Margraten in July 1949.

In October 2016, DPAA researchers made a historical association between X-1043 Margraten and Husak, based on the recovery site of the remains and where he was killed. On June 13, 2017, the remains were disinterred and repatriated to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

To identify Husak’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Airman killed From World War II Accounted For
June 15
, 2018

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Roy F. Davis, 26

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Roy F. Davis, 26, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, accounted for on June 7, 2017, will be buried June 23 in Ashby, Massachusetts. On March 12, 1944, Davis was a member of the 13th Bombardment Squadron, 3rd Bombardment Group, as one of two crewmembers aboard an A-20G Havoc bomber that failed to return to base in northeastern New Guinea after attacking enemy targets on the island. 

Attempts to locate the aircraft and crew, both during and after the war, were unsuccessful. The War Department declared Davis, as well the other crewmember, 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird, deceased on June 30, 1949; their remains were listed as non-recoverable.

In September 2001, a team from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory (a predecessor to DPAA) located a crash site in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. A native Papuan turned over pieces of wreckage he claimed to have recovered from the crash site. The team also recovered possible remains. On July 15, 2013, the remains were identified as Bird’s.

In February and March 2016, a DPAA Recovery Team excavated the crash site, and recovered additional remains and material evidence. The remains were subsequently sent to the DPAA laboratory.

To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 15, 2018

Army Pfc. David Baker, 18

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. David Baker, 18, of Gary, Indiana, accounted for on January 31, will be buried June 23 in Hobart, Indiana. In late November 1950, Baker was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, positioned in the vicinity of Yongbyong, North Korea. Baker’s battalion moved north and lost contact with two other regiments. On Nov. 25, 1950, 3rd BN met with enemy resistance and was attacked by Chinese People’s Volunteer Force. The battalion suffered heavy casualties and Baker was declared missing in action as of Nov. 28, 1950, when he could not be accounted for by his unit. Later reports indicate that baker was likely captured by the enemy during battle.

Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hoped to recover American remains that remained north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Baker’s remains were not included, and he was declared non-recoverable. 

In December 1993, North Korea turned over 34 boxes of remains, which were sent to the Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu. One box was reportedly exhumed from Tongju-ri, a village near Prisoner of War Camp 5. While no returning prisoners of war reported Baker as a prisoner, where the remains were recovered indicated he had been captured.

To identify Baker’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

Today, 7,641 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
June 15
, 2018

Marine Pfc. John W. Mac Donald, 19,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Pfc. John W. Mac Donald, 19, of Somerville, Massachusetts, accounted for on Aug. 15, 2016, will be buried June 22 in Bourne, Massachusetts. In November 1943, Mac Donald was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Mac Donald died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Mac Donald’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Mac Donald remains non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Mac Donald’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including anthropological analysis and dental and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched Mac Donald’s records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 14, 2018

Army Pfc. Felipe A. Champion, 19

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Felipe A. Champion, 19, of Brownsville, Texas, accounted for on Aug. 8, 2017, will be buried June 21 in his hometown. On Feb. 12, 1951, Champion was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, when he was reported missing in action following a battle with the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in an area known as the Central Corridor, South Korea. After CPVF units withdrew north beyond Hongch’on in early March, American units began moving forward and found war dead, however Champion’s remains could not be identified.

A list provided by the CPVF and Korean People’s Army (KPA) listed Champion as a prisoner of war, and a returning American prisoner of war reported that Champion died while in custody at the Suan Bean Camp prisoner of war camp in 1951. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased on May 3. 1951.

Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service planned to recover American remains that remained north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Champion’s remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which when combined with remains recovered during joint recovery operations in North Korea, account for the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. On May 28, 1992, North Korea returned 15 boxes of remains reportedly to have been recovered from where Champion was believed to have died.

To identify Champion’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, anthropological analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
June 14
, 2018

Navy Storekeeper 3rd Class Wallace E. Eakes, 22,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Storekeeper 3rd Class Wallace E. Eakes, 22, of Caney, Kansas, accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017, will be buried June 21, in Denver, Colorado. On Dec. 7, 1941, Eakes was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Eakes.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Eakes.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify Eakes’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, dental anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
June 13
, 2018

Army Pfc. John H. Walker, 20,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. John H. Walker, 20, of Morning Sun, Iowa, accounted for on April 11, will be buried June 20 in his hometown. On Nov. 24, 1944, Walker was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action after his unit engaged in fierce fighting on Hill 207 near Schönthal, Germany in the Hürtgen Forest. With no evidence that Walker had been captured or survived combat, his status was changed to deceased on Nov. 25, 1945.

After the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) collected thousands of unknown sets of remains from battlefields in Germany, and labeled each set with an X-number. 

In November 1948, German resident Mr. Bernhard Kueppers found remains in the woods at the northern edge of the Hürtgen Forest near Langerwehe, Germany, and notified AGRC personnel, who recovered them the following month. The remains were processed at the Central Identification Point in Neuville Belgium, and designated X-7980 Neuville. In September 1949, the remains were declared unidentifiable and were interred at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neuville, France.

In April 1949, with no association between Walker and X-7980 Neuville, an AGRC investigator traveled to Schönthal to investigate the loss of Walker, however no remains could be located. On Dec. 15, 1950, having received no further evidence that could lead to the recovery of Walker, he was declared non-recoverable. 

In 2016, a historian from DPAA conducted a study of unresolved American losses in the northern part of the Hürtgen Forest. Careful analysis of AGRC records and unit combat reports indicated a strong association between X-7980 and Walker. 

Based off of that research, and a thorough scientific review of the biological and dental records, the DPAA and the American Battle Monuments Commission exhumed X-7980 in June 2017 and transferred the remains to DPAA.

To identify Walker’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome (Y-STR) DNA analysis, as well as dental and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
June 12
, 2018

Navy Reserve Radioman 2nd Class Julius H.O. Pieper, 19

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Reserve Radioman 2nd Class Julius H.O. Pieper, 19, of Esmond, South Dakota, accounted for on Nov. 15, 2017, will be buried June 19 at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. On June 19, 1944, Pieper was a member of Landing Ship Tank Number 523 (LST-523), off the coast of Normandy, France. The ship exploded and sank after striking an underwater mine, killing Pieper. In the years following the incident, his remains were not recovered or identified. Pieper’s twin brother, Radioman 2nd Class Ludwig J. Pieper, was also killed in the attack, but his remains were recovered after the incident and buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in France. Julius will be buried next to his brother. 

Recently discovered records show that in September 1961, French salvage divers dismantled the LST-523 and turned over potential remains discovered to U.S. authorities. The remains, designated as Unknown X-9352, were found in the Radio Room of LST-523.

The remains could not be identified and were interred in Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium as an Unknown. 

After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-9352 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, on April 11, 2017, Unknown X-9352 was disinterred from Ardennes American Cemetery and sent to DPAA.

To identify Pieper’s remains, DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 12, 2018

 

Army Maj. Stephen T. Uurtamo, 32

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Maj. Stephen T. Uurtamo, 32, of Chicago, accounted for on Sept. 27, 2017, will be buried June 19 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In late November 1950, Uurtamo was a member of Headquarters Battery, 82nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was engaged in persistent attacks with the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) near the Ch’ongch’on River in North Korea. On Nov. 30, 1950, the Division began to withdraw south along the Main Supply Route, known as “The Gauntlet.” During the withdrawal, the 82nd lost many Soldiers, one of whom was Uurtamo who was declared missing in action as of Dec. 1, 1950, when he could not be accounted for.

Following the war, several returning American prisoners of war reported that Uurtamo had been captured and died at the prisoner of war transient camp, known as Hofong Camp, in North Korea in January 1951. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared Uurtamo deceased on Jan. 21, 1951.

In April 2005, a joint U.S./Korean People’s Army Recovery team recovered 32 sets of remains from a site south of Unsan, North Korea. Based on the recovered material evidence and surrounding conditions, it was determined this was a secondary burial site. 

To identify Uurtamo’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), Y-chromosome (Y-STR) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 12, 2018

Army Sgt. Donald L. Baker, 20,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. Donald L. Baker, 20, of Thornton, Arkansas, accounted for on Jan. 25, 2018, will be buried June 19 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In September 1950, Baker was a member of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Sept. 6, 1950, as a result of fighting that occurred between his unit and enemy forces near Haman, South Korea.

Following the battle, the U.S. Army Graves Registration Services (AGRS) created Field Search Cases (FSCs) to track unaccounted-for service members, assigning Baker to FSC 182-F. AGRS teams searched battlefields for remains and interred recovered remains at temporary cemeteries in South Korea. FSC 182-F contained 34 associated individuals who corresponded to Baker’s unit. Because of the lack of evidence to verify identity, some of the remains recovered in late September 1950 were buried as “Unknowns.”

On January 6, 1951, a set of unidentified remains recovered southwest of Haman, labeled as “Unknown X-209 Masan,” were interred at United Nations Military Cemetery (UNMC) in Masan, South Korea. 

In January 1955, the remains were declared to be unidentifiable and were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery in the Pacific (NMCP) in Honolulu, known as the Punchbowl.

In 2016, based on research regarding two individuals who remained unaccounted-for from FSC182-F, analysts from DPAA determined that Unknown X-209 could be associated with one of the missing Soldiers from FSC 182-F. DPAA disinterred Unknown X-209 on Oct. 30, 2017 and sent the remains to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Baker’s remains, scientists from DPAA used chest radiograph comparison, which matched his records, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 12, 2018

Army Cpl. Morris Meshulam, 20

Army Cpl. Morris Meshulam, 20, Marion, Indiana killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on June 4, 2018.

In late November 1950, Meshulam was a member of Battery D, 82nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Automatic Weapons,) 2nd Infantry Division. The Division suffered heavy losses to units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) between the towns of Kunu-ri and Sunchon, North Korea. Meshulam was reported missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950.

Corporal Morris Meshulam (ASN: RA-15277708), United States Army, was held as a Prisoner of War after he was captured on 1 December 1950 during the Korean War. He was unaccounted for after the war and is presumed to have died or been killed while in captivity.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Meshulam's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot Killed From Vietnam War Accounted For
June 11, 2018

Air Force Maj. James B. White, 27

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. James B. White, 27, of St. Petersburg, Florida, accounted for on June 16, 2017, will be buried June 19 in West Point, New York. On Nov. 24, 1969, White, a member of the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was aboard an F-105D aircraft, in a flight attacking enemy troops. During the mission, weather conditions deteriorated and contact with White was lost after his first pass. On Nov. 28, an Air America helicopter sighted wreckage, thought to be White’s aircraft. A Laotian ground team searched the area and found small pieces of wreckage, but no remains were recovered. White was subsequently declared missing in action.

In August 1998, a Laotian villager led a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team to a crash site. The team searched the site and found wreckage and material evidence, possibly correlating the site to White’s incident. 

In the spring of 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated an F-105D crash site associated with the loss and recovered possible human remains and material evidence. After each excavation, remains were sent to the Central Identification Laboratory, where they were consolidated. 

To identify White, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

Today there are 1,597 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

 

 

 

 

Pilot Killed From Vietnam War Accounted For
June 11, 2018

Air Force Col. Peter J. Stewart, 47,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Peter J. Stewart, 47, born in Glasgow, Scotland, raised in Winter Haven, Florida, accounted for on Feb. 28, 2018, will be buried June 18 in Winter Haven. On March 15, 1966, Stewart, a member of Headquarters, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, was the pilot of a two-seater F-4C aircraft, the second in a flight of two on an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Vietnam. The lead aircraft spotted two vehicles as the flight approached the target area and Stewart responded he was going to strafe the trucks. The lead aircraft, while maneuvering to engage the targets, lost sight of Stewart’s aircraft, but saw a bright orange explosion over the trucks. The flight lead immediately attempted to contact Stewart’s aircraft without result. No parachutes or emergency signals were seen, and all subsequent attempts to contact Stewart and his aircraft commander were unsuccessful. An organized search was not possible due to hostilities in the area. Stewart was subsequently declared missing in action. His status was later amended to deceased.

In November 2014, a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) recovery team conducted recovery operations at a possible F-4C crash site in Dien Bien District, Dien Bien Province. Material evidence and possible osseous material was recovered and sent to the Central Identification Laboratory for analysis. Additional recovery operations were conducted in late 2015 and late 2016, and all recovered remains were sent to the laboratory for analysis. 

In June 2017, DPAA identified the remains of the aircraft commander, Col. Martin R. Scott. 

From October to December 2017, a joint U.S./S.R.V. team continued excavating the crash site, recovering human remains and material evidence.

To identify Stewart’s remains, DPAA used dental analysis, which matched his records, as well as material and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
June 11, 2018

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Paul D. Gilman

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Paul D. Gilman, COLORADO killed during World War II, was accounted for on May 17, 2018.

In November 1943, Gilman was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Gilman died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc., for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Gilman's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
June 11
, 2018

Navy Reserve Fireman 1st Class Lewis F. Tindall,

Navy Reserve Fireman 1st Class Lewis F. Tindall, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on March 26, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Tindall was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Tindall.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Tindall's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 11, 2018

Marine Corps Sgt. Meredith F. Keirn, 25

Marine Corps Sgt. Meredith F. Keirn, 25, Niagara Falls, NY. killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on May 22, 2018.

In late November, 1950, Keirn was a light machinegun section leader for Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He was reported to have been killed Nov. 30, 1950 while defending a hill overlooking the Toktong Pass, a critical main supply route between the villages of Hagaru-ri and Yudam-ni, North Korea. His remains were reportedly buried at the base of “Fox Hill,” in the Toktong Pass, but they could not be recovered following the war.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Keirn's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War.

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot killed From World War II Accounted For
June 5, 2018

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Robert R. Keown, 24

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Robert R. Keown, 24, of Scottsboro, Alabama, accounted for on Nov. 8, 2017, will be buried June 15 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On April 16, 1944, Keown was a the pilot of one of four P-38s of the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, on a mission in a P-38 aircraft to escort a B-25 medium bomber on an aerial search near the mouth of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. The escort planes encountered heavy overcast conditions and charted a course for an auxiliary airfield. The aircraft turned toward open ocean to find a break in the clouds, when Keown and his wingman became separated from the other aircraft. Keown was reported missing in action after all four aircraft failed to return following the mission. Due to weather conditions, no searches were conducted that day. 

Due to a lack of information on Keown’s status, the War Department declared him deceased on Feb. 7, 1946. In August 1949, the American Graves Registration Service classified Keown as non-recoverable.

In April 1999, the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery turned over possible human remains to investigators from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii. The remains had reportedly been found amid wreckage from an airplane crash. In August and September 2015, Pacific Wrecks, Inc., through a partnership with DPAA, interviewed witnesses and surveyed a crash site that possibly correlated an account by local farmer Soka Dodon, who reported finding remains on his land in the 1980s, before burying the remains in the Torik Village Cemetery. In the 1990s, Dodon exhumed the remains and turned them over to a relative, John Bonding, a resident of Kikiapa Village. 

To identify Keown’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) analysis, as well as anthropological analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
June 5
, 2018

Navy Musician 1st Class Henri C. Mason

Navy Musician 1st Class Henri C. Mason, from California, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on March 26, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Mason was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Mason.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Mason's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Airman killed From World War II Accounted For
June 5, 2018

Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. John S. Bailey, 28

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. John S. Bailey, 28, of Woodstock, Virginia, accounted for on Sept. 18, 2017, will be buried June 13, in Winchester, Virginia. On Jan. 21, 1944, Bailey was a member of the 38th Bombardment Squadron, (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group, stationed at Hawkins Field, Helen Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, when his B-24J bomber crashed shortly after take-off. 

Following the crash, the squadron’s physician recovered the remains of six individuals who died in the crash and interred them in the Main Marine Cemetery No. 33 on Betio Island. 

Following the war, the U.S. Army’s 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947. Using Marine Corps records, they began the task of consolidating all the remains from isolated burial sites into a single cemetery called Lone Palm Cemetery. The remains of the crew on the B-24J bomber were believed to be among those moved, however Bailey’s remains were not identified and he was declared non-recoverable.

In May 2017, DPAA, through a partnership with History Flight, Inc., returned to Betio to conduct excavations of osseous remains. The remains were sent to DPAA for analysis.

To identify Bailey’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
June 4, 2018

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Charles A. Drew, 29

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Charles A. Drew, 29, of Coalinga, California, accounted for on Sept. 20, 2017, will be buried June 11, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In November 1943, Drew was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Drew died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Drew’s remains were not recovered. On Oct. 7, 1949, a military review board declared Drew’s remains non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Drew’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot Killed From Vietnam War Accounted For
June 1, 2018

Naval Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Larry R. Kilpatrick, 29

Naval Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Larry R. Kilpatrick, 29, Stone Mountain, Georgia was killed during the Vietnam War, was accounted for on May 18.

On June 18, 1972, Kilpatrick was a member of Attack Squadron One Hundred Five (VA-105), on board the USS Saratoga (CVA-60), flying an A-7A aircraft in a flight of two on a night armed reconnaissance mission over northern Vietnam. Kilpatrick's wingman lost radio contact with him outside of Ha Tinh City, after he announced he had sighted a target and was commencing an attack. After daybreak, search and rescue aircraft observed remnants of a parachute near Kilpatrick's last known location, but could not identify it as Kilpatrick's. The search and rescue team was unable to locate any aircraft wreckage.

DPAA is grateful to the government of Vietnam for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Kilpatrick's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.
 A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
June 1, 2018

Army Pfc. Oscar E. Sappington, 19

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Oscar E. Sappington, 19, of Dawson, Oklahoma, accounted for on April 23, will be buried June 9 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In January 1945, Sappington was a member of 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. On Jan 10, the 309th Infantry launched a number of attacks in the Hürtgen Forest of Germany. His company attempted to capture two hills near the Raffelsbrand sector of the forest. Enemy gunfire and artillery strikes forced the Americans to fall back. The following day, reinforcements led the attack on the hills, also sustaining heavy losses. At some point during the two days of fighting, Sappington was mortally wounded. Because no Soldiers from his unit could confirm his death, he was reported missing in action as of Jan. 11, 1945. 

In 1947, a German woodcutter found a set of remains that were subsequently recovered by the American Graves Registration Command. Unable to identify the remains, they were buried as Unknown, and designated X-5396.

After the war, the American Graves Registration Command extensively investigated the Hürtgen Forest, but could find no evidence leading to the recovery of Sappington’s remains. Unable to make a correlation with remains found in 1947, he was declared non-recoverable on Dec. 10, 1951. 

In 2016, a historian from DPAA conducted a study of combat records and unresolved American losses in the Raffelsbrand sector of the Hürtgen Forest. During this effort, the historian determined that the X-5396 remains had been recovered in the 309th Infantry combat zone and recommended that officials disinter the remains for scientific comparison to Pfc Sappington. Based off of that research, and a thorough scientific review of the biological and dental records, DPAA and the American Battle Monuments Commission exhumed X-5396 in June 2017 and transferred the remains to DPAA.

To identify Sappington’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological, dental and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Airman killed From World War II Accounted For
June 1, 2018

Army Air Forces Sgt. Alfonso O. Duran

Army Air Forces Sgt. Alfonso O. Duran, killed during World War II, was accounted for on May 22, 2018.

In February 1944, Duran was a nose gunner on a B-24H Liberator, assigned to the 724th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 451st Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force. On February 25, 1944, the final day of Operation Argument, Duran’s aircraft came under attack by German fighters and anti-aircraft fire, while he was on a bombing mission targeting Regensburg, Germany. The tail gunner in another aircraft witnessed a direct hit on Duran’s aircraft, which tore off a section of the right wing. Nine of the ten crew members were able to bail from the aircraft before it crashed. The tail gunner from Duran’s aircraft reported he had last seen Duran alive in the aircraft, but believed Duran did not bail out. All nine of Duran’s crewmates survived the bail out and were captured and interrogated in Verona, Italy, where they were told that one body had been found in the aircraft wreckage. The crash site was reported to be located near Ljubljana, Slovenia, an area then under Axis control.

DPAA is grateful to the Slovenian Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities, the Institute for Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, the residents of Pokojišče, the several private Slovenian researchers involved, the Office of Australian War Graves Commission, and the RAAF Directorate of History and Heritage for their partnership in this recovery.

On Feb. 25, 1944, Duran wasn’t supposed to be on the doomed B-24H Liberator, nicknamed “Knock it Off.” Normally a nose turret gunner,
Duran was the substitute tail turret gunner on the flight, replacing the usual tail gunner who had frostbite.


Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Duran’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Impruneta, Italy, along with other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 1, 2018

Army Cpl. Ernest L.R. Heilman, 19

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Ernest L.R. Heilman, 19, of Greenup, Kentucky, accounted for on Aug. 19, 2016, will be buried June 8 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On Feb. 13, 1951, Heilman was a member of Battery B, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, and was declared missing in action when his unit was breaking a roadblock in the vicinity of Hoengsong, South Korea.

Reports provided by enemy forces indicated that Heilman was captured and died at Changsong prisoner of war camp in North Korea. Based on this information, the Army declared him deceased on June 8, 1951.

In September 1954, a set of remains reportedly recovered from the prisoner of war cemetery at Camps 1 and 3, Changsong, North Korea, were sent to the Central Identification Unit for attempted identification. The remains were designated X-14236 and were declared unidentifiable. They were then transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu and were interred as Unknown.

After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-14236 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-14236 was disinterred on June 13, 2016 and sent to DPAA’s laboratory for analysis.

To identify Heilman’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, all which matched Heilman’s records; as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
June 1, 2018

Army Sgt. Julius E. McKinney, 23

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. Julius E. McKinney, 23, of Clay, Arkansas, accounted for on March 5, will be buried June 8 in Corinth, Mississippi. In late November 1950, McKinney was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. As the Chinese attacks continued, American forces withdrew south. By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured, killed or missing in enemy territory. McKinney was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, after he was last seen on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir.

McKinney’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists and no returning Americans reported McKinney as a prisoner of war. Due to the prolonged lack of evidence, the U.S. Army declared him non-recoverable on Jan. 16, 1956.

During the 36th Joint Recovery Operation in September and October 2004, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, (a predecessor to DPAA) Recovery Team 2, conducted recovery operations with elements of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir. A secondary burial site was excavated in the vicinity of Twikkae Village, Changjin County. The remains of at least five individuals were accessioned to the Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu.

To identify McKinney’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
June 1
, 2018

Navy Seaman 1st Class Henry G. Tipton, 20,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Henry G. Tipton, 20, of Imboden, Arkansas, accounted for on February 5, will be buried June 8 in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. On Dec. 7, 1941, Tipton was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Tipton. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Tipton.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Tipton’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA, as well as circumstantial evidence and dental and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
May 24, 2018

Army Sgt. Eugene W. Yost,

Army Sgt. Eugene W. Yost, Milaca, Minnesota, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on March 28.

In September 1950, Yost was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Yost’s regiment was responsible for defending the road from Sanju to Taegu in South Korea, and positioned themselves in bordering hills. On September 2, the unit received information that the 19th Regiment North Korea People’s Army would attack in the evening. During the night, the North Koreans overran the cavalry’s positions. Yost was last seen on Sept. 3, 1950, and was reported missing in action when he could not be accounted for.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their assistance in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Yost's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 24, 2018

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Carl Nichols,

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Carl Nichols, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on March 27, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Nichols was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Nichols.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Nichols' name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
May 24, 2018

Army Cpl. DeMaret M. Kirtley, 21

 

Army Cpl. DeMaret M. Kirtley, 21, Johnson, Wyoming, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on May 4, 2018.

In late November 1950, Kirtley was a member of Battery A, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. As the Chinese attacks continued, American forces withdrew south. The U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured, killed or missing in enemy territory. Kirtley was reported missing in action on Dec. 6, 1950, when he could not be accounted for after the withdrawal. He was last seen in the vicinity of Hagaru-ri, Changjin County, Hamgyeong Province, North Korea.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Kirtley’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
May 24
, 2018

Army Sgt. Joseph Akers,

Army Sgt. Joseph Akers, killed during World War II, was accounted for on April 30, 2018.

In November 1944, Akers was a member of Company C, 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, participating in intense fighting in the Hürtgen Forest. His company was deployed as direct fire support for American infantrymen attacking the town of Grosshau. Two tank destroyers and six tanks, including the M10 tank destroyer Akers was on, were knocked out in the fighting around Grosshau on Nov. 25, 1944. He was killed during the battle, though his status was initially listed as missing in action. On Dec. 21, 1944, his status was amended to killed in action.

DPAA is grateful the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Akers' name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the other MIAs from WWII. Although interred as an "unknown" his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 24
, 2018

Marine Corps Pfc. Francis E. Drake, Jr., 20

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Pfc. Francis E. Drake, Jr., 20, of Framingham, Massachusetts, accounted for on Aug. 28, 2017, will be buried May 25 in Springfield, Massachusetts. On October 9, 1942, Drake was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, participating in a main offensive action in the Battle of Guadalcanal. After nearly two months of battle, the regiment completed their action, however Morrissey was killed in action. Two other Marines from Morrissey’s battalion were reportedly interred in graves atop Hill 73, alongside him.

From 1947 through 1949, the American Graves Registration Service searched for isolated burials on Guadalcanal but did not associate any remains with Morrissey. Based on the lack of information, Drake was declared non-recoverable. 

In 2011, Mr. Yorick Tokuru, a resident of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, located possible osseous remains near his home on the western edge of Skyline Ridge (Hill 73). A team of Royal Solomon Islands Police Force investigators excavated the site and turned recovered remains over to the state archaeologist. The archaeologist turned the remains over to Mr. John Innes, an Australian expert on the Battle of Guadalcanal, who in turn contacted the Joint POW/MIA Recovery Command (JPAC- now DPAA.) 

On July 12, 2013, Mr. Ewan Stevenson, a Guadalcanal native living in New Zealand, contacted JPAC stating more remains had been recovered near the site of the 2011 recovery location. 

On August 6, 2013, the remains were unilaterally turned over to JPAC for identification.

To identify Drake’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as historical and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 24, 2018

Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward F. Slapikas, 26

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward F. Slapikas, 26, of Wanamie, Pennsylvania, accounted for on Sept. 5, 2017, will be buried June 2 in his hometown. On Dec. 7, 1941, Slapikas was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Slapikas. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Slapikas.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Slapikas’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
May 22, 2018

Army Sgt. John W. Hall

 

Army Sgt. John W. Hall, captured and killed during the Korean War, was accounted for June 6, 2017.

In late November 1950, Hall was a member of Headquarters Battery, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. On Nov. 29, Hall’s unit received orders to move from Kunu-ri to Sunchon, North Korea. The division received reports that the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) had set up fireblocks on several roads, including their planned withdrawal route. The division organized a movement into convoys, with Hall in the eighth convoy. Hall’s battalion began their withdrawal route through an area known as “The Gauntlet.” Hall was reported missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950, in the vicinity of Somindong, North Korea.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Hall's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
May 22, 2018

Army Pfc. Willie E. Blue, 19,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Willie E. Blue, 19, of New Orleans, accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017, will be buried May 29 in Dallas, Texas. In August 1950, Blue was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, taking part in defending the Naktong Bulge portion of the Pusan Perimeter. He was reported missing in action as of Aug. 31, 1950, after his status could not be determined following his admittance to the 2nd Clearing Station, 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division in Yong-san, South Korea. No additional records showed his disposition, nor did the 8076th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) have records on Blue. With no additional information concerning his loss, the Department of the Army declared him deceased on March 3, 1954.

On Aug. 5, 1951, a search and recovery team from the 565th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company recovered a single set of remains near Tongjong-ni, South Korea. The remains were designated “Unknown X-1664” and transferred to the Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan. The remains were deemed unidentifiable and were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”

After a thorough historical and scientific analysis of information associated with X-1664 it was determined that the remains could likely be identified. After receipt of approval, the remains were disinterred from the Punchbowl on Aug. 14, 2017, and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Blue’s remains, scientists from DPAA dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 21, 2018

Navy Radioman 2nd Class Walter H. Backman, 22

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Radioman 2nd Class Walter H. Backman, 22, of Wilton, North Dakota, accounted for on July 17, 2017, will be buried May 28 in Batavia, Illinois. On Dec. 7, 1941, Backman was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Backman. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Backman.

In 2003, a single casket associated with the USS Oklahoma attack was disinterred from the Punchbowl, however laboratory analysis revealed the remains to be highly commingled. In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Backman’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 21
, 2018

Marine Corps Pfc. Jack H. Krieger, 28,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Pfc. Jack H. Krieger, 28, of Larned, Kansas, accounted for on January 10, will be buried May 28, in his hometown. In November 1943, Krieger was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 18th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Krieger died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Krieger’s remains were not recovered. On Oct. 7, 1949, a military review board declared Krieger’s remains non-recoverable. Remains that had been recovered were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. Remains that could not be identified were subsequently buried as Unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In 2013, through a partnership with History Flight, Inc., the laboratory received remains recovered from a site believed to be Cemetery 25 on Betio Island.

On April 3, 2017, DPAA disinterred Tarawa X-224 from the Punchbowl and accessioned them to the lab for analysis.

To identify Krieger’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor killed From World War II Accounted For
May 21
, 2018

Navy Reserve Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Thomas J. Murphy, 22,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Reserve Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Thomas J. Murphy, 22, of Greencastle, Indiana, accounted for Sept. 14, 2017, will be buried May 28 in Hamilton, Ohio. In November 1943, Murphy was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Murphy was killed on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Murphy’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 7, 1949, a military review board declared Murphy’s remains non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. 

In May 2017, through a partnership with History Flight, Inc., DPAA used advanced investigative techniques to locate further areas believed to contain the remains of men buried on Tarawa. The recovered remains were sent to the laboratory for analysis

To identify Murphy’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 17
, 2018

Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Harvel L. Moore, 25,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Harvel L. Moore, 25, of Chatham, Louisiana, accounted for on February 12, will be buried May 26, in his hometown. In November 1943, Moore was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Moore died on the third day of the battle, Nov. 22, 1943.

Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Moore’s remains were not identified. 

In May 2015, History Flight, Inc., a nongovernmental organization conducted excavations on Betio, finding osseous remains through various advanced investigative techniques. The remains were sent to DPAA for analysis.

To identify Moore’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA, which matched his family, dental, and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 17
, 2018

Marine Corps Sgt. Elden W. Grimm, 26,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Sgt. Elden W. Grimm, 26, of Menasha, Wisconsin, accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017, will be buried May 26 in Neenah, Wisconsin. In November 1943, Grimm was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Grimm died on Nov. 25, 1943. 

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the American Graves Registration Services (AGRS) had recovered remains from burial sites across the Tarawa Atoll and interred them in Lone Palm Cemetery. The remains that could not be identified were designated as “Unknowns.”

In 1947, the U.S. Army began disinterments to bring the remains to Oahu for identification at the Central Identification Laboratory. A set of remains designated Unknown X-150 were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii for analysis. When the X-150 could not be identified, they were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In October 2016, due to recent advances in forensic technology, DPAA began the exhumation of unknown remains associated with Tarawa from the Punchbowl and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Grimm’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 17, 2018

Navy Seaman 1st Class Willard H. Aldridge, 20

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Willard H. Aldridge, 20, of Sitka, Kansas, accounted for on Nov. 15, 2017, will be buried May 26 in Ashland, Kansas. On Dec. 7, 1941, Aldridge was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Aldridge. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Aldridge.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify Aldridge’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, along with circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airmen killed From World War II Accounted For
May 16
, 2018

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Clarence E. Allen, 23,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Clarence E. Allen, 23, of Venice, California, accounted for on July 26, 2017, will be buried May 23 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In mid-October 1944, Allen was a member of the 395th Fighter Squadron, 368th Fighter Group, and was the pilot of a P-47 aircraft as the lead element in a dive-bombing mission near Aachen, Germany. The squadron engaged enemy aircraft in dogfights in the vicinity of Dusseldorf, and following the battle, all aircraft except Allen’s returned to the base. The squadron Mission Report indicated that a P-47 was seen crashing in the vicinity of the battle. Based on this information, Allen was declared missing in action on Oct. 12, 1944.

Following the hostilities, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) personnel searched for and disinterred the remains of American servicemen. On March 18, 1948, the AGRC team disinterred remains from the community cemetery of Myhl. The remains were deemed unidentifiable and designated “Unknown X-7214,” and buried in the United States Military Cemetery in Neuville-en-Condroz (now known as Ardennes American Cemetery) in Nupré, Belgium.

On March 8, 2003, German researchers located aircraft wreckage that correlated with Allen’s aircraft, in Myhl. After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-7214 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, in 2005, Unknown X-7214 was disinterred from Ardennes American Cemetery and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Allen’s remains, historians from DPAA established a strong link between X-7214 and historical documentation of Allen’s loss. Then, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which strengthened the link to Allen’s family members, establishing a consistent anthropological profile between X-7214 and Allen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aviator killed From World War II Accounted For
May 14
, 2018

Navy Reserve Ensign Harold P. DeMoss


Navy Reserve Ensign Harold P. DeMoss, Nashville, Tenn. killed during World War II, was accounted for on May 9, 2018.

In the early morning hours of June 23, 1945, DeMoss was a member of Fighting Squadron 100 (VF-100), piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat from Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, Territory Hawaii. DeMoss was accompanied by two other squadron aircraft for a night division tactics training flight. Following the completion of their flight plan, the pilots circled the island. At Kahuku Point, the northern tip of Oahu, the pilots encountered a layer of clouds. DeMoss climbed above the clouds and attempted to descend through them. His aircraft was not seen reemerging from the clouds and attempts to contact him via radio were unsuccessful. An immediate search for his aircraft began.

Interment services are pending; more information will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 11, 2018

Navy Seaman 2nd Class William V. Campbell, 20

Navy Seaman 2nd Class William V. Campbell, 20, Elizabethton, Tenn. killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on May 9, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Campbell was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Campbell.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Campbell's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
May 11
, 2018

Army Sgt. Melvin C. Anderson,

Army Sgt. Melvin C. Anderson, killed during World War II.

In November 1944, Anderson was a member of Company C, 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, participating in intense fighting in the Hürtgen Forest. His company was deployed as direct fire support for American infantrymen attacking the town of Grosshau. Two tank destroyers and six tanks, including the M10 tank destroyer Anderson was the tank commander on, were knocked out in the fighting around Grosshau on Nov. 25, 1944. He was killed during the battle, though his status was initially listed as missing in action. On Dec. 21, 1944, his status was amended to killed in action.

DPAA is grateful the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Anderson’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the other MIAs from WWII. Although interred as an "unknown" his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 11, 2018

Navy Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class William F. Hellstern, 20,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class William F. Hellstern, 20, of Peoria, Illinois, accounted for on February 12, will be buried May 18 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. On Dec. 7, 1941, Hellstern was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Hellstern. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Hellstern.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Hellstern’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA, as well as circumstantial evidence and dental and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 10, 2018

Navy Ship fitter 3rd Class John M. Donald,

Navy Ship fitter 3rd Class John M. Donald, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on April 11, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Donald was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Donald.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Donald's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier  From Vietnam War Accounted For
May 7, 2018

Army Maj. Donald G. Carr, 32,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Maj. Donald G. Carr, 32, of San Antonio, accounted for on Aug. 19, 2015, will be buried May 11, at San Antonio National Cemetery. On July 6, 1971, Carr was assigned to the Mobile Launch Team 3, 5th Special Forces Group, as an observer in an OV-10A aircraft that supported an eight-man Special Forces reconnaissance team. During his mission, his aircraft encountered bad weather. Shortly afterward, the ground team heard an explosion to their northeast, which they believed to be that of an OV-10A. They failed to locate the crash site, however, and Carr was declared missing in action.

Between September 1991 and March 2014, joint U.S./Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic teams conducted more than 25 investigations and site surveys, but could not locate his remains.

In April 2014, a Vietnamese citizen contacted American officials, claiming to know about possible American remains in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Wreckage, photos, personal effects, and remains were located and transferred to DPAA, and later identified as Carr’s.

To identify Carr’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used circumstantial evidence and DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA.

 

Today there are 1,585 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 7, 2018

Navy Fireman 2nd Class George C. Ford,


Navy Fireman 2nd Class George C. Ford, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on April 30, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Ford was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Ford.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Ford's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 7
, 2018

Marine Corps Cpl. John V. McNichol, 20,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Cpl. John V. McNichol, 20, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, accounted for on Sept. 25, 2017, will be buried May 14, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In November 1943, McNichol was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. McNichol died on the second day of the battle, Nov. 21, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but McNichol’s remains were not recovered. On Oct. 7, 1949, a military review board declared McNichol’s remains non-recoverable.

In July 2017, through a partnership with History Flight, Inc., DPAA used advanced investigative techniques to locate further areas believed to contain the remains of men buried on Tarawa. The recovered remains were sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify McNichol’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Killed from Korean War Accounted For
May 7, 2018

Army Cpl. Albert E. Quintero, 23

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Albert E. Quintero, 23, of Los Angeles, accounted for on Aug. 28, 2017, will be buried May 14 in Long Beach, California. In late November 1950, Quintero was a member of Battery D, 15th Anti-aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Self-propelled Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. American forces withdrew south while the Chinese continued to attack. By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 wounded service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured or killed in enemy territory. Because Quintero could not be accounted for by his unit after reaching Hagaru-ri, he was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950.

Quintero’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war list and no returning American prisoners reported him as a prisoner of war. Due to the lack of evidence of Quintero’s survival, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Dec. 31, 1953.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled remains to the United States, which were determined to contain the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. On Dec. 15, 1993, the Central Identification Laboratory (CILHI, predecessor to DPAA), received 33 boxes of remains, 13 of which were reportedly recovered from the area of Tongju-Ri, Pyokdong County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, however in 2015, scientists determined the remains in one box were recovered from the area of Singhung-ri.

In September 2001, a joint U.S./North Korea recovery team excavated a location in the vicinity of Sinhung Village, Changjin County, North Korea, and recovered possible osseous remains.

To identify Quintero’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 4, 2018

Navy Seaman 1st Class Clifford G. Goodwin, 24,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Clifford G. Goodwin, 24, of Diamond, Missouri, accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017, will be buried May 12, in his hometown. On Dec. 7, 1941, Goodwin was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Goodwin. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Goodwin.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.
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To identify Goodwin’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as dental comparisons and anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 4, 2018

Navy Seaman 1st Class Natale I. Torti,


Navy Seaman 1st Class Natale I. Torti, St. Louis, Mo  killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, was accounted for on April 26, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Torti was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Torti.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Torti's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
May 4, 2018

Navy Radioman 2nd Class Quentin J. Gifford, 22,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from World War II have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Radioman 2nd Class Quentin J. Gifford, 22, of Mankato, Minnesota, accounted for on July 26, 2017, will be buried May 12 at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota. On Dec. 7, 1941, Gifford was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Gifford.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Gifford.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.
¬
To identify Gifford’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), Y-chromosome (Y-STR) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Killed from Korean War Accounted For
May 4, 2018

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class William G. Payne, 41

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class William G. Payne, 41, of Springfield, Missouri, accounted for on Aug. 9, 2017, will be buried May 11 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In late November 1950, Payne was a medical specialist assigned to the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, fighting against repeat Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) attacks in the area surrounding Yudam-ni, North Korea. Payne was killed during the fighting on Dec. 1, 1950 and was reportedly buried in a temporary cemetery at Yudam-ni.

Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service planned to recover American remains that had been north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. One set of remains, marked “Unknown 409,” was recovered from a temporary cemetery near Yudam-ni. After attempts at identification proved inconclusive, the remains were and interred as “Unknown X-13409” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-13409 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-13409 was disinterred on May 8, 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Payne’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 3
, 2018

Marine Corps Pfc. William F. Cavin, 19

Marine Corps Pfc. William F. Cavin, 19, Hancock County, Tenn. killed during World War II, was accounted for on April 23, 2018.

In November 1943, Cavin was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion. 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated.
Cavin died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.


DPAA is grateful to the History Flight, Inc., and the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnerships in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Cavin's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
May 1
, 2018

Army Pvt. Kenneth D. Farris, 38


Army Pvt. Kenneth D. Farris, 38, Collingsworth County, Texas, killed during World War II, was accounted for on April 23, 2018.

In November 1944, Farris served with Company B, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. Farris’ unit arrived in the Hürtgen Forest in Germany on Nov. 9, 1944 and immediately began preparing to advance eastward to the town of Grosshau. Despite continued progress, the regiment’s Soldiers sustained heavy losses due to enemy artillery fire. On Nov. 28, 1944, most of the action took place north of Grosshau. According to records, Farris was wounded by artillery and left the front line for the battalion aid station that day. His regiment remained in combat for several more days, reaching the outskirts of Gey, Germany, before being pulled off the front line. When officers took an accounting of the surviving Company B soldiers, Farris could not be found. The last any of the survivors knew was that he had tried to find an aid station. He was listed missing in action when there was no update on his whereabouts. 

DPAA is grateful the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Farris’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the other MIAs from WWII. Although interred as an "unknown" his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
May 1
, 2018

Marine Corps Pfc. Harold V. Thomas, 21,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Pfc. Harold V. Thomas, 21, of Columbus, Ohio, accounted for on Nov. 7, 2017, will be buried May 7, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In November 1943, Thomas was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Thomas died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Thomas’ remains were not identified. All of the remains found on Tarawa were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory for identification in 1947. By 1949, the remains that had not been identified were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

On March 27, 2017, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-087 from the NMCP, sent the remains to DPAA for analysis.

To identify Thomas’ remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparisons, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captured Soldier from Korean War Accounted For
May 1, 2018

Army Cpl. Terrell J. Fuller,

Army Cpl. Terrell J. Fuller, St., Augusta, Fl. captured and killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on April 13, 2018.

In February 1951, Fuller was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, supporting Republic of Korea Army attacks against units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in an area known as the Central Corridor in South Korea. After enduring sustained enemy attacks, the American units withdrew to Wonju, South Korea. It was during this withdrawal that Fuller was reported missing, as of Feb. 12, 1951.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Fuller’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
May 1
, 2018

Army Pfc. Oscar E. Sappington,

Army Pfc. Oscar E. Sappington, Salt Lake City, Utah killed during World War II, was accounted for on April 23, 2018.

In January 1945, Sappington was a member of 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. On Jan 10, the 309th Infantry launched a number of attacks in the Hürtgen Forest of Germany. His company attempted to capture two hills near the Raffelsbrand sector of the forest. Enemy gunfire and artillery strikes forced the Americans to fall back. The following day, reinforcements led the attack on the hills, also sustaining heavy losses. At some point during the two days of action, Sappington stepped on a landmine. Though he was mortally wounded, no Soldiers from his unit could reach him during the vicious fighting to render aid or confirm his death. He was reported missing in action as of Jan 11. 1945. 

DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Sappington’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium, an American Battle Monuments Commission site, along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for. Although interred as an "unknown" in Sappington's grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the ABMC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
April 30, 2018

Marine Corps Reserve 1st Sgt. David H. Quinn, 24,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Reserve 1st Sgt. David H. Quinn, 24, of Temple, New Hampshire, accounted for on Nov. 7, 2017, will be buried May 5 in his hometown. In November 1943, Quinn was assigned to Company C, 2nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion (C-2d Amp Tr Bn), 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Quinn died on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943. 

Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance the Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Quinn’s remains were not identified. All of the remains found on Tarawa were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory for identification in 1947. By 1949, the remains that had not been identified were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In October 2016, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-115 from the Punchbowl and sent the remains to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Quinn’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marine killed From World War II Accounted For
April 30, 2018

Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. Raymond A. Barker, 22,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. Raymond A. Barker, 22, of Evanston, Illinois, accounted for on Sept. 27, 2017, will be buried May 5, in Delavan, Wisconsin. In November 1943, Barker was assigned to Company C, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Barker died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Barker’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 7, 1949, a military review board declared Barker’s remains non-recoverable.

In July 2017, through a partnership with History Flight, Inc., DPAA used advanced investigative techniques to locate further areas believed to contain the remains of men buried on Tarawa. The recovered remains were sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Barker’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier killed From World War II Accounted For
April 30, 2018

Army Pfc. Billy R. Ball, 20,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, is being returned to his family for burial with full military honors. 

Army Pfc. Billy R. Ball, 20, of Matthews, Missouri, accounted for on Aug. 28, 2017, will be buried May 4 in St. Louis, Missouri. On Dec. 8, 1941, Ball was a member of Headquarters Detachment Philippines Department, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands. Intense fighting continued until the surrender of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and of Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942. 

Thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were taken prisoner; including many who were forced to endure the Bataan Death March, en route to Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camps, including the POW camp at Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Ball was among those reported captured after the surrender of Corregidor and who were eventually moved to the Cabanatuan POW camp. More than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the remaining years of the war. 

According to prisoner records, Ball died on Sept. 28, 1942, and was buried along with fellow prisoners in the local Cabanatuan camp cemetery. 

Following the war, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery and relocated the remains to a temporary U.S. military cemetery near Manila. In late 1947, the AGRS again exhumed the remains at the Manila cemetery in an attempt to identify them. Due to the circumstances of the POW deaths and burials, the extensive commingling, and the limited identification technologies of the time, all of the remains could not be individually identified. The unidentified remains were reburied as unknowns in the present-day Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

In May 2016, the Secretary of the Army granted permission to exhume six graves associated with Cabanatuan Common Graves 437 and 439. On May 11, 2017, the remains were sent to DPAA for identification. 

To identify Ball’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
April 30, 2018

Army Sgt. 1st Class Rufus L. Ketchum,

Army Sgt. 1st Class Rufus L. Ketchum, Burnett, Wisconsin, missing from the Korean War, was accounted for on April 23, 2018.

In late November 1950, Ketchum was a member of Medical Detachment, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. As the Chinese attacks continued, American forces withdrew south. The U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured, killed or missing in enemy territory. McKinney was reported missing in action on Dec. 6, 1950, after he was last seen in the vicinity of Hagaru-ri.

The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to Sergeant Rufus L. Ketchum, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while assigned to the Medical Detachment, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, in the vicinity of the Changjin Reservoir, Korea, from November 28 to 30, 1950. After the numerically superior enemy attacked and surrounded elements of the battalion and isolated the medical officer, Sergeant Ketchum assumed charge of the aidmen and, after establishing a collection point and an aid station in a native house, he moved fearlessly about the impact area in full view and under direct enemy fire to minister to and evacuate the wounded. Constantly vulnerable to vicious hostile fire, he supervised the search for blankets, sleeping bags, and parachutes to protect his patients from the bitter cold and foraged for coffee and other material comforts to meliorate their condition. Upon being ordered to withdraw, Sergeant Ketchum directed and assisted in placing the disabled in vehicles to form a motor convoy. Enemy fire was continuous and intense, and the progress of the column further impeded by a blinding snow storm, icy roads, and rugged mountainous terrain. After several vehicles were immobilized by hostile fire, Sergeant Ketchum directed transferal of the wounded to serviceable vehicles, and when the advance was halted by an enemy road block and withering fire rained down on the convoy from the surrounding hills wounding him in the chest and left arm, he continued to treat the injured.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Ketchum's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 25, 2018

Navy Reserve Lt. William Q. Punnell, 27,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Reserve Lt. William Q. Punnell, 27, of Flandreau, South Dakota, accounted for on June 23, 2017, will be buried May 2 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On July 25, 1944, Punnell was the acting commanding officer of the VF-14 Fighter Squadron, departing from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp in his F6F-3 “Hellcat” with several other aircraft on a strafing mission against Japanese targets on the islands of the Republic of Palau. The mission was to strafe the Babelthaup (now Babeldaob) Airbase and the two Arakabesan Seaplane bases. Punnell’s aircraft encountered intense antiaircraft fire over the islands of Palau. His Hellcat was in the lead position when the tail of the plane was seen taking a direct hit. He crashed approximately 300 feet from the northern seaplane base, and his aircraft sank on impact. The other pilots on the mission did not witness Punnell bail out from his aircraft.

Following multiple unsuccessful attempts to locate Punnell’s Hellcat, it was located by the Project Recover, a nonprofit NGO of volunteers and professionals who work with DPAA in the Republic of Palau, in March 2014 through use of modern techniques and scuba diving grid surveys. During a dive on April 2, 2014, a DPAA forensic anthropologist discovered osseous remains in the area of the cockpit. The remains were turned over to the Palau Historic Preservation Office, and then were received by DPAA and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

In April 2015, a DPAA Underwater Recovery Team excavated the site and recovered additional remains and material evidence.

In March 2016, a subsequent excavation was completed by SEARCH, an archaeological contracting firm, where additional remains and material evidence were recovered.

To identify Punnell’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), dental and anthropological analysis, and historical evidence.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 25, 2018

Navy Water Tender 1st Class Stephen Pepe,


Navy Water Tender 1st Class Stephen Pepe, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, has now been accounted for.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Pepe was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Pepe.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Pepe's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 23, 2018

Navy 2nd Class Durell Wade, 24

 

Navy Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Durell Wade, 24, Calhoun Mississippi, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, has now been accounted for.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Wade was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Wade.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Wade's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 20, 2018

Navy Fireman 2nd Class John D. Wheeler, 26,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman recently accounted for from World War II are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Fireman 2nd Class John D. Wheeler, 26, of Gaither, Arkansas, accounted for on Aug. 14, 2017, will be buried April 28 in Harrison, Arkansas. On Dec. 7, 1941, Wheeler was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Wheeler. 

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Wheeler.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Wheeler’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as dental comparisons and anthropological analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldier Killed from Korean War Accounted For
April 19, 2018

Army Cpl. Leonard V. Purkapile, 26,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Leonard V. Purkapile, 26, of Potosi, Wisconsin, accounted for on February 12, will be buried April 26, in Lancaster, Wisconsin. In late November 1950, Purkapile was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, engaged in combat operations against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the vicinity of Unsan, while withdrawing southeast to Yongbyon, North Korea. Following the battle, Purkapile could not be accounted for and he was reported as missing in action on Nov. 28, 1950. By the end of the war, his status was changed to deceased and his remains deemed non-recoverable.

On November 30, 1993, North Korea unilaterally turned over 33 boxes containing remains believed to be U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War. The remains in one box were reportedly recovered in the vicinity of Okchang-ri, Nyongbyon County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, which was less than three kilometers from where Purkapile was last seen. 

To identify Purkapile’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Joe M. Kelley,

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Joe M. Kelley, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, has now been accounted for.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Kelley was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Kelley.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Kelley's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Captured Soldier from Korean War Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Army Sgt. 1st Class Milton M. Beed, 30,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Milton M. Beed, 30, of Meadow Grove, Nebraska, accounted for on Dec. 4, 2017, will be buried April 25 in Norfolk, Nebraska. In February 1951, Beed was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, supporting Republic of Korea Army attacks against units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the village of Hoengsong, an area known as the Central Corridor in South Korea. After enduring sustained enemy attacks, the American units withdrew to Wonju, South Korea. It was during this withdrawal that Beed was reported missing, as of Feb. 12, 1951.

In December 1951, Beed’s name appeared on a list provided by the CPVF and Korean People’s Army (KPA) of allied service members who died while in their custody. One returning American prisoner of war reported that Beed had died while a prisoner at the Suan Prisoner of War Camp Complex in North Korea. Based off of this information, the Army declared him deceased as of Oct. 31, 1951.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which were later determined to contain the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. On May 28, 1992, North Korea turned over 15 boxes of remains believed to be unaccounted-for Americans from the war. 

To identify Beed’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, dental and anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

Missing Captured Soldier from World War II Accounted For
April 18, 2018


Army Pvt. Raymond Sinowitz, 25

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that a U.S. serviceman, captured during World War II, has been identified and is being returned to his family for burial with full military honors. 

Army Pvt. Raymond Sinowitz, 25, of Bronx, New York, accounted for on Aug. 18 2017, will be buried April 23 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On Dec. 8, 1941, Sinowitz was a member of 454th Ordnance Company, 27th Bombardment Group, the Far East Air Force, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands. Intense fighting continued until the surrender of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and of the Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942. 

Thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were taken prisoner; including many who were forced to endure the Bataan Death March, en route to Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camps, including the POW camp at Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Sinowitz was among those reported captured after the surrender of Corregidor and who were eventually moved to the Cabanatuan POW camp. More than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the remaining years of the war. 

According to prisoner records, Sinowitz died on Sept. 26, 1942, and was buried along with fellow prisoners in the local Cabanatuan camp cemetery. 

Following the war, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery and relocated the remains to a temporary U.S. military cemetery near Manila. In late 1947, the AGRS again exhumed the remains at the Manila cemetery in an attempt to identify them. Due to the circumstances of the POW deaths and burials, the extensive commingling, and the limited identification technologies of the time, all of the remains could not be individually identified. The unidentified remains were reburied as unknowns in the present-day Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

In May 2016, the Secretary of the Army granted permission to exhume six graves associated with the Cabanatuan Common Grave 439. On May 11, 2017, the remains were sent to DPAA for identification. 

To identify Sinowitz’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Vincent L. Politte, 19

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Vincent L. Politte, 19, ST. LOUIS Mo. killed during World War II, has now been accounted for. 

In the summer of 1943, Politte served as a gunner with the 345th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force. He was killed while participating in a raid on the Ploesti Oil Refinery complex north of Bucharest, Romania, during Operation Tidal Wave. The goal of the operation was to destroy the refineries in the area in order to hamper the German war effort. During the raid, Politte’s B-24 Liberator aircraft was hit by machine gun fire and crashed. Following the war, his remains could not be identified. 

DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their assistance in this mission. 

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Politte’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery Impruenta, Italy, an American Battle Monuments Commission site, along with the other MIAs from WWII. Although interred as an Unknown in Neuville American Cemetery, Politte’s grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the ABMC. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Air force Pilot  From Vietnam War Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Air Force Reserve 1st Lt. David T. Dinan, III, 25

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Vietnam War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Reserve 1st Lt. David T. Dinan, III, 25, of Nutley, New Jersey, accounted for on Aug. 7, 2017, will be buried April 25 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On March 17, 1969, Dinan was a member of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 288th Tactical Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force, and was the pilot of the number two aircraft in a flight of two F-105s on a strike mission over northern Laos. During the second strafing pass over the target, Dinan transmitted a distress message. The Forward Air Controller then observed Dinan’s parachute enter the jungle, as well as an aircraft crash. Search and rescue aircraft conducted an aerial search and located a parachute and confirmed the death of the pilot, however, due to enemy fire in the area and the hazardous location, his body could not be recovered. The U.S. Air Force subsequently reported Dinan as killed in action.

In March 2014, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team investigated a site near Ban Khap, Xiangkoang Province, associated with Dinan’s loss, recovering personal effects associated with Dinan.

In June 2016, a joint U.S./L.P.D.R. team excavated the same site near Ban Khap, recovering osseous remains and material evidence. The remains were sent to DPAA for analysis.

To identify Dinan’s remains, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), as well as dental and anthropological analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Army Pfc. John H. Walker,

Army Pfc. John H. Walker, missing from World War II, has now been accounted for. 

On Nov. 24, 1944, Walker was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action after his unit engaged in fierce fighting on Hill 207 near Schönthal, Germany in the Hürtgen Forest. With no evidence that Walker had been captured or survived combat, his status was changed to deceased on Nov. 25, 1945.

DPAA is grateful to Mr. Kueppers and the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership with this disinterment and recovery. 

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Walker’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission in Margraten, along with the others missing from WWII. Although interred as an Unknown in Neuville American Cemetery, Walker’s grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the ABMC.A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marine Killed From World War II Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Marine Corps Pfc. Clarence E. Drumheiser, 21

Marine Corps Pfc. Clarence E. Drumheiser, 21, Fresno, Ca. killed during World War II, has now been accounted for.

In November 1943, Drumheiser was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Drumheiser died on the third day of the battle, Nov. 22, 1943.

DPAA is appreciative to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Drumheiser’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Captured Soldier from Korean War Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lester R. Walker, 19

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lester R. Walker, 19, of Ferriday, Louisiana, accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017, will be buried April 18 in Downsville, Louisiana. On Sept. 3, 1950, Walker was a member of Battery B, 82nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was declared missing in action in the vicinity of Changnyeong, South Korea, while attached to Task Force Haynes. Based on a lack of information concerning his status, the U.S. Army declared him deceased and his remains non-recoverable.

Despite the efforts of the Army Graves Registration Services (AGRS) and Central Identification Unit (CIU) in Kokura, Japan, more than 800 sets of unidentified remains were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, as “Unknowns,” including one set of remains designated “Unknown X-2026.” 

During the initial recovery of X-2026, the AGRS interviewed several local villagers who stated that in mid-September 1950, two U.S. prisoners were brought to their village. The prisoners reported to the villagers that they had been captured at the Naktong River near Changnyung. The witnesses recounted that the prisoners were killed by enemy forces, then buried by locals several days later.

After a thorough historical and scientific analysis of information associated with X-2026, it was determined that the remains could likely be identified. After receipt of approval, the remains were disinterred from the Punchbowl on Aug. 13, 2017, and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Walker’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Captured Soldier from Korean War Accounted For
April 18, 2018

Army Master Sgt. Finley J. Davis, 39,

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Master Sgt. Finley J. Davis, 39, of Pittsburgh, accounted for on Aug. 8, 2017, will be buried April 19 in North Charleston, South Carolina. In late 1950, Davis was a member of Company D, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when his unit was fighting off persistent Chinese attacks in the Ch’ongch’on River area in northwest North Korea. The battle began on Nov. 25, 1950, when the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) initiated an offensive along the 8th Army front. All 8th Army units were ordered to withdraw on November 29. Davis’ battalion was assigned to provide security for the division. The unit was attacked again by the CPVF and Davis was reported missing in action as of Dec. 1, 1950.

Several repatriated American prisoners of war reported that Davis died Camp 5.

Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service planned to recover American remains that remained north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Davis’ remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable. A set of remains marked as X-14024 were processed for identification, but an association could not be made and they were returned to the United States for burial.

After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, DPAA requested the exhumation of 22 unresolved individuals, including Davis. Unknown X-14024 was disinterred from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, known as the Punchbowl, on June 17, 2014 and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and circumstantial evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 11, 2018

Navy Steward Mate 1st Class Ignacio C. Farfan,

Navy Steward Mate 1st Class Ignacio C. Farfan, Oklahoma,  killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, has now been accounted for.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Farfan was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Farfan.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Farfan's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

USS Oklahoma Sailor Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 10, 2018

Navy Chief Machinist's Mate Dean S. Sanders,

Navy Chief Machinist's Mate Dean S. Sanders, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II, has now been accounted for.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Sanders was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Sanders.

In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Sanders' name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

 

 

 

 

 

Naval Aviator Missing From World War II Accounted For
April 9, 2018

Navy Reserve Lt. j.g. Irvin E. Rink, 25,

 The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Reserve Lt. j.g. Irvin E. Rink, 25, of Wichita, Kansas, accounted for on July 10, 2017, will be buried April 16 in his hometown. On Aug. 4, 1943, Rink was a member of Fighting Squadron Twenty Seven (VF-27), when eight pilots flying F4F-4 Wildcat aircraft took off from the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands, to escort a Catalina seaplane on a mission to Enogai Inlet, New Georgia Island. As the seaplane attempted to land at Enogai Inlet, the escort aircraft were attacked by Japanese fighter planes. Following the battle, the element returned to the Russell Islands, however Rink did not return. He was reported missing in action on Aug. 4, 1943. Based on a lack of information regarding his whereabouts, he was declared deceased on Jan. 8, 1946.

In March 2008, Mark Roche, an American diver, photographed an F4F-4 aircraft inverted on a reef approximately 45 feet under water off the northwest coast of New Georgia. He recovered human remains and material evidence from the wreckage and transferred them to the U.S. Consulate in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

In February 2013, a