WWII U.S. Airman's Body Found in Hungary

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    By PABLO GORONDI
    The Associated Press
    Friday, August 10, 2007; 3:55 PM

    BUDAPEST, Hungary -- The remains of a U.S. airman whose plane was shot down over Hungary in World War II have been recovered from wreckage left unexcavated in a rural area for 63 years, American and Hungarian officials said Friday.

    The remains of Staff Sgt. Martin F. Troy were found among the wreck of a B-24H "Liberator" bomber in the village of Nemesvita, about 110 miles southwest of the capital Budapest. They will be returned to the United States, officials said.

    The location of the wreckage has been well known since the time of the crash _ seven of the bomber's 10-man crew bailed out and the survivors gave an account about where it went down. They said Troy had likely died. But no one has gone back to thoroughly search the site since.

    Troy, a native of Norwalk, Conn., was the only member of the bomber's crew who had yet to be fully accounted for. Though the identity of the remains must be confirmed by DNA testing, officials said there was virtually not doubt they belonged to Troy.

    "After 63 years of being listed as 'killed in action, body not recovered,' this airman's family can finally experience closure," U.S. Ambassador to Hungary April H. Foley said at a ceremony to officially hand over the remains to the U.S.

    The recovery was carried out by the U.S. military's Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, which identifies and recovers American soldiers killed in conflicts around the world.

    Tens of thousands of people from some two dozen countries were known to have been killed during the war in Hungary, which was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1944. The country was then under communist rule until 1989 and would not have allowed an American military team in to search the crash site.

    The wreckage was deemed "unrecoverable" in 1945 by the American Graves Registration Unit, because of its location. The bomber crashed into marshy land, creating a crater some six yards wide by 18 yards long which was covered by 2-3 feet of water.

    "The site of the crash had been heavily salvaged over the years ... probably during the war," said anthropologist Bradley Sturm, the only civilian on the JPAC team. "Given the fact that there were tons of metal in that aircraft, there was hardly anything left."

    He said Troy's bones were scattered around the crater caused by the crash, a few miles from Lake Balaton on privately owned land.

    JPAC began making efforts to recover Troy's remains two years ago "because of congressional interest," said Marine Capt. George Murphy, the military leader of the JPAC team. One of the surviving crew members and other veterans lobbied for the JPAC mission. The original survivors from Troy's crew are all dead now, Sturm said.

    Murphy said JPAC's limited resources also held up the search for Troy's remains. The group has only five teams to search for about 80,000 Americans still missing from World War II.

    Sturm said the excavation of the wreck took 30 days and an engine and three propeller blades were among items recovered from the bomber.

    "There is a good chance that Troy died before the plane hit the ground," Sturm said. "There was a big fire involving a leakage in the oxygen system and another crew member was badly burned trying to get to him."

    Troy was the tail gunner on the bomber nicknamed "Miss Fortune," which was returning from a mission in Germany to its base in Italy. His aircraft and three others flew into bad weather and were shot down by German gunners over western Hungary on June 30, 1944.

    JPAC will attempt to return Troy's remains to his family if it can be found. He could be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, outside Washington, D.C.

    Lt. Gen. Jozsef Hollo, director of Hungary's Military History Museum, said there was information about another 30 American soldiers killed in Hungary during World War II whose remains had yet to be recovered.
     
  2. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    May this American hero forever rest in peace. :salute:
     
  3. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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  4. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  6. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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  7. filnorm

    filnorm Member

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    What unit this aircraft belong to? What was the target of this day?
     
  8. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Another serviceman going home.......good show !

    Charles
     
  9. Bf109_g

    Bf109_g Member

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  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Welcome home Airman!
     
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