Airmen Missing in Action From WWII Identified

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Airmen Missing in Action From WWII Identified

ARLINGTON, VA - 2/12/2011

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B-24D crew pose - (standing L to R) Rear Gunner SSgt James B. Moore, Engineer TSgt. Charles Bode, Asst Radio SSgt. William K. Musgrave. kneeling L to R) Armour/Gunner SSgt James T. Moran, Asst Eng SSgt. Ivan O. Kirkpatrick and Radio SSgt Roy Suribian. Credit: via Kevin Gatens crew IDs John O'Connor Date: 1943
B-24D crew pose - (standing L to R) Rear Gunner SSgt James B. Moore, Engineer TSgt. Charles Bode, Asst Radio SSgt. William K. Musgrave. kneeling L to R) Armour/Gunner SSgt James T. Moran, Asst Eng SSgt. Ivan O. Kirkpatrick and Radio SSgt Roy Suribian. Credit: via Kevin Gatens crew IDs John O'Connor Date: 1943

On Feb. 10, the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced that the remains of 11 U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Technical Sgt. Charles A. Bode, 23, Baltimore, was buried on Feb. 11 in Arlington National Cemetery.

Technical Sgt Bode was a B-24D aircraft engineer with United State Army Air Force 64th Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group of the 5th Air Force stationed at Port Moresby, New Guinea.

On November 20, 1943, Bode and the ten members of his B-24D took off from 7-mile drome, also referred to as Jackson airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea on a night radar search mission for shipping over the Bismarck Sea and Wewak. During the mission, the only radio transmission from the crew indicated they were 20 miles northwest of Port Moresby, but they did not return to Jackson Airfield. Subsequent searches failed to uncover any evidence of either the crew or the aircraft.

Following the war, the Army Graves Registration Service conducted investigations and searches for 43 missing airmen including Bode and the other 10 airmen, but concluded in June 1949 that all were unrecoverable.

In 1984, the government of Papua New Guinea notified U.S. officials of a World War II crash site in a ravine in Morobe Province. A U.S. search and recovery team investigated the crash site in late 1984 and located B-24 aircraft wreckage. They also recovered human remains but were unable to complete the mission due to time constraints and the threat of landslides. From that time until 2004, multiple teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) attempted to access and excavate the location but the threat of landslides made recovery too dangerous to continue. During a site visit in 2004, local villagers turned over human remains they had previously removed from the area.

In addition to Bode's individual burial, the crew of 11 men, Pilot - 1st Lt. Richard T. Heuss, 23, Berkley, Mich.; Co-pilot - 2nd Lt. Robert A. Miller, 22, Memphis, Tenn.; Bombardier - 2nd Lt. Edward R. French, 23, Erie, Pa.; Navigator - 2nd Lt. Robert R. Streckenbach, Jr., 21, Green Bay, Wis.; Tech. Sgt. Charles A. Bode; Radar/Gunner - Tech. Sgt. Lucian I. Oliver, Jr., 23 Memphis, Tenn.; Asst Engineer - Staff Sgt. Ivan O. Kirkpatrick, 36, Whittier, Calif.; Asst Radio - Staff Sgt. William K. Musgrave, 24, Hutsonville, Ill.; Gunner - Staff Sgt. James T. Moran, 21, Sloatsburg, N.Y.; Gunner - Staff Sgt. James B. Moore, 21, Woburn, Mass.; and Radio operator - Staff Sgt. Roy Surabian, 24, Medford, Mass., will be buried as a group on March 24 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Bode's remains.

At the end of World War II, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 74,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.





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