View Full Version : OT - Crew of B-24D, tail number 42-40505

06-27-2006, 04:45 PM
I had the honor and privilage today of assisting in laying to rest the entire crew this aircraft, reported missing since 09 OCT 1944 from Nadzab airbase in Papua / New Guinea

They were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, which included horse-drawn Cassion, 21 gun salute, aircraft flyover and presentation of flags to the surviving next of kin.

My duties started last Thursday when I went to Dulles Airport and officially received the two of the remains from Hawaii (where our identification labs are). We performed planeside honors by saluting the caskets as they were off loaded first from the Delta flight. Passengers in the plane and terminal waited patiently until the caskets were taken away. A Lieutenant flew on the flight all the way from Hawaii in his dress uniform.

I also greeted the next of kin as they arrived in DC for the ceremony as well as attended the viewing at the funeral home with them. Some of the next of kin were indeed still close to them even after being MIA for 62 years. We had sisters and brothers, sons and daughters all there.

The weblinks below tell the rest of the story. Our government does everything possible to find all missing MIA and bring them home. We have a huge program that uses Mitochondrial DNA to determine what remains are who. We perform these honors for all soldiers lost during current or as in this case older conflicts.

It was very moving today to see an older sister see her brother buried with honors after 62 years. Personally this was my touch to the past that I have studied so much in my life.

Welcome home, 2LT John Meisner (who I was responsible for during this event...he is top left in the photo in the weblink)


June 27, 2006


Missing World War II Airmen are Identified
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that nine airmen missing in action from World War II have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

The nine are 2nd Lt. Hugh L. Johnson Jr., Montgomery, Ala.; 2nd Lt. Byron L. Stenen, Northridge, Calif.; 2nd Lt. John F. Green, Watertown, N.Y.; 2nd Lt. John M. Meisner, Pembroke, Mass.; Staff Sgt. Walter Knudsen, Sioux City, Iowa; Cpl. John A. DeCarlo, Newark, N.J.; Cpl. Robert E. Raney, Monon, Ind.; Cpl. William G. Mohr, Mt. Wolf, Pa.; and Cpl. Michael J. Pushkar, Mahanoy City, Pa. All were assigned to the U.S. Army Air Forces.

The individually identified remains of Stenen, Green, Meisner, Mohr and Pushkar, as well as the group remains representing all nine crewmen, are being buried today at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Johnson, Knudsen and Raney will be buried elsewhere.

On the morning of Oct. 9, 1944, the crew took off on a training mission from Nadzab, New Guinea, in their B-24D Liberator. The aircraft was not seen again, and it was speculated that it had encountered bad weather.

In early 2002, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby reported the discovery of two dog tags by villagers from a World War II crash site in Morobe Province. Specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) traveled to Papua, New Guinea, in November 2002 to investigate several World War II aircraft losses. The team interviewed the two villagers who gave them the dog tags, then surveyed the site where aircraft wreckage and human remains were found.

A joint team of JPAC and Papua, New Guinea specialists mounted a full-scale excavation at the site January through February 2003, when they recovered additional human remains and crew-related artifacts from the wreckage field. JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains. Laboratory analysis of dental remains also confirmed their identification.


06-27-2006, 05:07 PM
A very noble thing, to lay to rest the bodies of those airmen. I'm sure the families appreciate the effort made, and now have closure.
A very sad thing, but a very real part of war

06-28-2006, 06:44 AM
its amazing they found those guys . I still hate B-24's.

06-28-2006, 10:02 AM
A few years ago they found the remains of an u.s soldier in a forest in Belgium along with three german soldiers in the same forest.

It was easy to identify him by his dogtag that was found along with other personal things.

2 of the german soldiers could be identified the third one not. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif

This happens very often but ten thousands of soldiers from both world wars are still missing.

The war graves association of germany found remains of over 100 german soldiers several kilometers west of Wolgograd (former Stalingrad) in 2001.

They were buried in one of the many forgotten "temporary" mass graves.

They also find remains of soldiers from WW-1 in France and Holland every year http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif

06-28-2006, 02:15 PM
It is a very good advertisement for the US forces, nobody gets left in the wilderness.

On a side to Celeons WW1 comment, I did some research for a friend at work, his Grandfather lost 4 brothers in Belgium. Althought the crosses in the wargraves dont have names/dates there is a list of the graves filled at specific dates from specific areas.
So from a date and location of death we can pick within a few rows in a particular cemetary.
We got 3 of them that way but nothing fitted the 4th.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif heres to the fallen, whichever side they fell on..