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News Releases

Press Release | Nov. 18, 2016

Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For (Langhorst)

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst, 24, of Yonkers, New York, will be buried Nov. 26 in Battle Creek, Michigan. On July 17, 1945, Langhorst was assigned to the 1330 Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command, and was the co-pilot of a C-109 aircraft with three other crew members on a routine cargo transport mission from Jorhat, India, to Hsinching, China, when it crashed in a remote area. An extensive search of the area failed to identify the crash site and the crew was declared deceased on July 18, 1946, and their remains designated non-recoverable.

In late 2007, an independent investigator, Clayton Kuhles, discovered aircraft wreckage near the village of Bismarknagar, India, in a deep ravine at a high altitude, which he believed correlated to the missing aircraft. Bone fragments were recovered and sent to the former Joint Personnel Accounting Command’s Central Identification Lab, now DPAA’s laboratory.

In February 2009, a contracted group traveled to the reported crash site and confirmed the location of the wreckage. Also in 2009, a local resident in India turned over additional bone fragments he had taken from the crash site.

To identify Langhorst’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a nephew, as well as circumstantial evidence.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at, find us on social media at or call (703) 699-1420.