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Hawaii News

Remains of 7 WWII MIAs identified

Forensic scientists at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam have identified the remains of seven servicemen missing in action from World War II.

The Pentagon announced Friday that the remains will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors July 15 in Arlington National Cemetery.

On May 23, 1944, the men were aboard a C-47A Skytrain that left Dinjan, India, on an airdrop mission to resupply Allied forces in 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 crash site about 31 miles northwest of Myitkyina, Burma, now called Myanmar. 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 Pearl Harbor-Hickam excavated the crash site in 2003 and 2004, recovering additional remains and crew-related equipment.

Identified were 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, Pa.; Pfc. Richard M. Dawson, Haynesville, Va.; Pvt. Robert L. Crane, Sacramento, Calif.; and Pvt. Fred G. Fagan, Piedmont, Ala.

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 crew members’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.


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