The Pentagon announced today that the remains of seven servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
On May 23, 1944, the men were aboard a C-47A Skytrain that departed Dinjan, India, on an airdrop mission to resupply Allied forces near Myitkyina, Burma. When the crew failed to return, air and ground searches found no evidence of the aircraft along the intended flight path.
In late 2002, a missionary provided U.S. officials information about a C-47 crash site approximately 31 miles northwest of Myitkyina, the Pentagon said. In 2003, a Burmese citizen turned over human remains and identification tags for three of the crew members.
A team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam excavated the crash site in 2003 and 2004, recovering additional remains and crew-related equipment.
Army Capt. Joseph M. Olbinski, Chicago; 1st Lt. Joseph J. Auld, Floral Park, N.Y.; 1st Lt. Robert M. Anderson, Millen, Ga.; Tech. Sgt. Clarence E. Frantz, Tyrone, Penn.; Pfc. Richard M. Dawson, Haynesville, Va.; Pvt. Robert L. Crane, Sacramento, Calif.; and Pvt. Fred G. Fagan, Piedmont, Ala., were identified and all are to be interred July 15 in Arlington National Cemetery.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of some of the crewmembers’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.