Missing WWII Airmen who were shot down over New Guinea Accounted For

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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced on 24th of February that the remains of U.S. servicemen, who were missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

  • Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Mont., buried there Sept. 19, 2014
  • 1st Lt. Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 1st Lt. Herbert V. Young Jr. of Clarkdale, Ariz., buried Oct. 15, 2014, in Prescott, Ariz.
  • 1st Lt. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Mont., buried there Sept. 19, 2014
  • Tech. Sgt. Charles L. Johnston of Pittsburgh, to be buried March 2 in Arlington National Cemetery
  • Tech. Sgt. Hugh F. Moore of Elkton, Md., buried there Nov. 11, 2014
  • Staff Sgt. John E. Copeland of Dearing, Kan.
  • Staff Sgt. Charles J. Jones of Athens, Ga., to be buried there Feb. 28
  • Sgt. Charles A. Gardner of San Francisco, buried Dec. 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery

On April 10, 1944, 12 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, DoD teams excavated the site and recovered human remains and non-biological material evidence.

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