Remains of WWII B-24 Airmen Identified

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by ToughOmbre, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Remains of WWII B-24 Airmen Identified

    The Associated Press

    DOVER, Del. (AP) — The remains of 11 U.S. servicemen killed in action during World War II have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with military honors, Pentagon officials said Friday.

    Among the airmen whose remains were recovered on the Pacific island of New Guinea is Capt. Robert Coleman, an athletic instructor from Wilmington who enlisted in September 1941. Military officials said Coleman's family did not wish to comment.

    The men were members of the Army Air Forces 43rd Bomber Group, 63rd Bomber Squadron. They were listed as missing after their B-24 Liberator, "The Swan," piloted by Coleman, failed to return from a mission on Dec. 3, 1943. The crew had departed Dobodura, New Guinea, on a reconnaissance mission over New Hanover Island in the Bismarck Sea. They reported dropping their bombs on target but, despite several radio contacts with their base, never returned.

    The remains of the airmen were recovered between 2004 and 2007 after members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, located and excavated a site where wreckage had been spotted by native hunters four years earlier.

    Officials said that in addition to the remains, searchers recovered crew-related artifacts including identification tags. Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA and dental records to positively identify some of the remains, the military said.

    The crewmen.....

    • Capt. Robert Coleman, of Wilmington, Delaware :salute:

    • 1st Lt. George E. Wallinder, of San Antonio, Texas :salute:

    • 2nd Lt. Kenneth L. Cassidy, of Worcester, Mass. :salute:

    • 2nd Lt. Irving Schechner, of Brooklyn, N.Y. :salute:

    • 2nd Lt. Ronald F. Ward, of Cambridge, Mass. :salute:

    • Tech. Sgt. William L. Fraser, of Maplewood, Mo. :salute:

    • Tech. Sgt. Paul Miecias, of Piscataway, N.J. :salute:

    • Tech. Sgt. Robert C. Morgan, of Flint, Mich. :salute:

    • Staff Sgt. Albert J. Caruso, of Kearny, N.J. :salute:

    • Staff Sgt. Robert E. Frank, of Plainfield, N.J. :salute:

    • Pvt. Joseph Thompson, of Compton, Calif. :salute:

    Authorities said the dates and locations of the funerals are being set by the families of the servicemen.

    "That's news to me," said Cassidy's son, Ken Belisle, 63, Jacksonville, Fla., who was born after his father died and never knew him.

    Belisle said he was told by military officials last fall that there probably would be a group ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery with six caskets — five for the remains of each of the crewmen whose remains had been positively identified, and a sixth for the others.

    "We're waiting for that date for that ceremony," Belisle said.

    Meanwhile, a funeral for Morgan was held Thursday in Holly, Mich., followed by burial at Great Lakes National Cemetery.

    Donald Morgan of Flushing, Mich., who was 11 years old when his brother died, described him as "a great guy" who wanted to go to college and study engineering.

    Morgan said his brother's remains were identified through analysis of a piece of bone less than an inch long.

    "There was very little human remains left," Morgan said, adding that his brother's remains may also be included in the group ceremony at Arlington, which he expects to be held in June or July.

    Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, confirmed that a group casket would be buried at Arlington and marked by a headstone with all 11 names.

    "In a larger group like this, there is always hundreds of skeletal fragments that could not be individually identified. Those are collected in a group and placed in a single casket," he said.

    Greer said the 11 crewmen were identified either through biological or circumstantial evidence. The Army's identification process was completed in September after an independent outside review, and the briefing of families was completed late last month, Greer said.

    With the exception of Morgan, the families of the other four crewmen whose remains were positively identified through DNA or other biological means — Cassidy, Fraser, Frank, Thompson — will be given the option of having separate caskets buried at Arlington near the group casket, Greer said.

    "This is going to be such a closure for my family," said Ward's sister, Kathleen Lund.

    Lund, who lives near Boston, said her brother was a gifted student with a wry sense of humor who won a history prize in high school and was rewarded with a trip to Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration.

    Lund said that while her brother's remains were not positively identified, searchers did find two rings at the crash site, including his high school graduation ring.

    TO
     

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  2. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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  3. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Just heard about this on the TV.

    :salute:
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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  8. Karl Sitts

    Karl Sitts Member

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    Toughombre, Thank you for letting us know. God bless them one and all! My birthday is 10/20/43. Karl
     
  9. Emac44

    Emac44 Active Member

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    Good news for the families of these brave men. At last the families have closure and the men have a final resting place at home
     
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