The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John D. Mumford, 22, of St. Petersburg, Florida, will be buried March 23 in his hometown. On June 6, 1944, Mumford, while serving with the 318th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force, flew his last mission as the pilot and sole occupant of a P-51C “Mustang” fighter. Mumford and other pilots of the 325th Fighter Group were assigned escort duty, accompanying and protecting a flight of B-17 “Flying Fortress” bombers of the 5th Bombardment Wing on their mission to bomb and destroy a German occupied airfield at Galati, Romania. After successfully completing the bombing mission, the bombers and their escort fighters came under attack by German fighters. Mumford was last seen by fellow pilots in pursuit of two German fighters. Later, villagers of Novotroyan- present day Novi Troyany- Ukraine, observed two aircraft with U.S. markings pursued by several German aircraft. One of the U.S. aircraft crashed in a nearby field.
In 2008 and 2010, personnel from predecessor organizations of DPAA visited the village of Novi Troyany, interviewing witnesses to the crash, correlating it to Mumford’s loss, and surveying the site of the crash to prepare for future excavation.
In July and August 2016, DPAA, jointly with the Ukraine Armed Forces and the National Museum of Military History of Ukraine, excavated the crash site.
To identify Mumford’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 73,076 service members still unaccounted for from World War II.
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.