New REMAINS Discovered – American Hero Finally FOUND?!
(RepublicanPress.org) – According to The New York Times, roughly 78,750 service members were listed as unaccounted for at the conclusion of World War II. The Department of Defense (DOD) and other groups continue their efforts to recover US prisoners of war and individuals who remain missing in action, sending investigators to WWII sites to investigate leads and collect evidence.
Sometimes, discovering a missing individual’s remains is more a matter of luck than design. Such was the recent case of the discovery of human remains in Thailand, believed to be those of a missing American airman.
Archival Records Lead to an Amazing Discovery
On Wednesday, May 18, CBS News reported on the recent discovery of the possible remains of an American Airman in northern Thailand. Retired Royal Thai Air Force Marshal Sakpinit Promthep spent several months reviewing files removed from Thailand’s Air Museum after floods ravaged the country in 2011.
Sakpinit came across a handwritten report from a Lampang police official detailing the crash of a single-seated Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft in November 1944. A long-time history buff, Sakpinit recalled hearing rumors of a plane crash in the region corresponding to the officer’s written account.
The Associated Press reported that US War Department records included details about a reconnaissance mission over northern Thailand that corresponded with Sakpinit’s discovery. The pilot never returned, and the report listed the location and cause of the disappearance as “not known.” However, the records listed the plane used for the flight as a modified P-38.
Although US records failed to identify a possible location for the aircraft, the Thai police officer’s report gave an exact location. However, it took the recent testimony of a 100-year-old witness to convince the DOD’s Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to excavate the site.
In February 2022, a joint US-Thai team started excavating a rice field outside a northern Thai village. They had recovered metal fragments consistent with an aircraft and several bones and teeth by April.
On May 18, US and Thai officials held a ceremony to pay their respects as a casket containing the remains and draped by an American flag was solemnly loaded on a plane for transport to the United States.
A DPAA laboratory located in Hawaii will conduct tests on the remains to determine whether the remains truly belong to the pilot. In the meantime, officials haven’t released the name of the missing pilot out of respect to the individual’s family.
WWII Accounting Continues
The DPAA continues its efforts to discover and identify the remains of individuals believed to be missing US service members worldwide. Following WWII, the DOD established the Return of the World War II Dead program, which confirmed or identified the remains of more than 280,000 people in the few years after the war.
The US Army Mortuary identified another 200 service members between 1951 and 1976, according to the DPAA. Subsequent DOD agencies recovered and identified more than 600 additional individuals.
The DOD established a database of missing WWII service members in 2003. In 2014, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the merger of existing agencies into the NDAA.
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