B-24D Liberator Crew Missing Since WWII Finally Found

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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Sgt. Charles Gardner finally accounted for.

Sgt. Charles Gardner finally accounted for.

Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier, 28, of Augusta, Mont., Bryant E. Poulsen, 22, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Herbert V. Young Jr., 23, of Clarkdale, Ariz., and Tech Sgts. Charles L. Johnston, 20, of Pittsburgh, Penn., and Hugh F. Moore, 36, of Elkton, Md., Staff Sgts. John E. Copeland, 21, of Dearing, Kan., and Charles J. Jones, 24, of Athens, Ga., and Sgt. Charles A. Gardner, 32, of San Francisco, Calif., have been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors. Gardner will be buried Dec. 4 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On April 10, 1944, Gardner, along with 11 other B-24D Liberator crew members took off from Texter Strip, Nazdab Air Field, New Guinea, on a mission to attack an anti-aircraft site at Hansa Bay. The aircraft was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire over the Madang Province, New Guinea. Four of the crewmen were able to parachute from the aircraft, but were reported to have died in captivity.

Following World War II, the Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) conducted investigations and recovered the remains of three of the missing airmen. In May 1949, AGRS concluded the remaining nine crew members were unrecoverable.

In 2001, a U.S.-led team located wreckage of a B-24D that bore the tail number of this aircraft. After several surveys, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) teams excavated the site and recovered human remains and non-biological material evidence.

To identify Gardner’s remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Gardner’s maternal niece and nephew.

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Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

1 Comment

  1. All of these men and women who fought and died during WW2 are my hero’s.
    All the families back state side who were short on gas and tires and food items and other day to day items,are also my hero’s..
    May almighty God comfort those who are still living today and may God bless and watch over the immortal remains of all those who have died, both those who served and those who fought ans built and grew the food and those who built the ships,aircraft and ammunition and many other things the mitary needed to win this war.MY HERO’S EVERYONE OF THEM….

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