The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Frank A. Fazekas, 22, of Trenton, New Jersey, accounted for on Aug. 7, 2017, will be buried March 28 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. On May 27, 1944, Fazekas was a member of the 22nd Fighter Squadron, 36th Fighter Group, when he was returning from a mission over northern France and his P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft came under enemy fire. His aircraft crashed in a field north of the French village of Buysscheure. His remains were not recovered and the U.S. Army reported him deceased on May 27, 1944.
In July 1946, a British recovery team investigated a crash site associated with Fazekas’ loss. The team recovered aircraft parts and personal effects, but his remains were not recovered. Based on this information, a Board of Officers of the American Graves Registration Command declared his remains unrecoverable.
On July 16, 2012, a team of historians and an anthropologist from the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office and Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (both predecessors to DPAA) visited the crash site. The team received assistance from local residents and officials, as well as research from Mr. Joss Leclercq, a French historian. In August 2016, a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, augmented by DPAA, excavated the crash site, recovering possible remains. The remains were sent to DPAA on August 31, 2016.
To identify Fazekas’ remains, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), which matched his family, as well as anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Mr. Leclercq, the French government and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their assistance in this recovery.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,048 service members (approximately 26,000 assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Fazekas’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at Ardennes American cemetery in Neupré, Belgium, an American Battle Monuments Commission site, along with the 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 www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.