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News Releases

Press Release | April 12, 2017

Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For (Rothman)

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 2nd Lt. Marvin B. Rothman, 21, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, will be buried April 19 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On April 11, 1944, Rothman was assigned to the 311th Fighter Squadron, 58th Fighter Group, and was the pilot of a single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt, on a bombing escort mission with 15 other Thunderbolts to Wewak, Territory of New Guinea, when he was attacked by enemy fighter aircraft. When the escort flight returned from the mission, Rothman and two other P-47D pilots were reported missing. The War Department declared Rothman deceased as of Feb. 6, 1946.

In September 1946, a U.S. infantry officer informed the American Graves Registration Service in Finschhafen, New Guinea, that an Australian War Graves team had recovered remains of a suspected American airman from the wreckage of an aircraft with a partial serial number correlating to Rothman’s plane.

In November 1946, AGRS personnel examined the remains and subsequently tried to confirm the identity based on dental records. However, the dental charts were incomplete and an identification could not be established.

Based on the lack of conclusive evidence, in January 1950, an AGRS board declared Rothman to be non-recoverable.

In July 2004, a contractor for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command investigated a crash site found by local residents of Suanum Village, East Sepik Province, Paupa New Guinea, finding material evidence an aircraft data plate matching the serial number of Rothman’s plane. A U.S. recovery team returned to the site in August 2009 and recovered possible human remains and other artifacts.

To identify Rothman’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological and circumstantial evidence, as well as dental analysis, which matched Rothman’s records.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 73,067 service members still unaccounted for from World War II. Rothman’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery along with other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

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.