The remains of an airman who crashed in the Philippines in World War II have been identified and returned to his family for burial, the Pentagon’s POW/Missing Personnel Office announced yesterday.
Army Air Forces Capt. George W. Grismore, 30, of Salt Lake City will be buried at sea Wednesday with full military honors off Newport Beach, Calif.
Officials at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam identified his remains.
On March 12, 1945, Grismore and five crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, to resupply guerrilla troops.
Once cleared for takeoff, there was no further communication between the aircrew and airfield operators, officials said. When the aircraft failed to return, officials searched an area 10 miles on either side of the intended route.
No evidence of the aircraft was found, and the six men were presumed killed in action. Their remains were determined to be nonrecoverable in 1949.
In 1989 a Philippine National Police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte, the POW/Missing Personnel Office said.
Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials at JPAC.
From 1989 to 2009, JPAC sought permission to send teams to the crash site, but unrest in the Burauen region prevented on-scene investigations or recovery operations, officials said.
JPAC scientists continued the forensic process with the remains on hand. Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Grismore’s nephew — in the identification of his remains.
At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify the remains of about 79,000 Americans. Today more than 72,000 are unaccounted for from the conflict, the personnel office said.