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.
Marine Corps Reserve Capt. James W. Boyden, 22, of Daytona, Florida, will be buried May 4 in Whittier, California. On Feb. 14, 1944, Boyden was a member of the Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 233, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force, as the pilot of a Grumann torpedo bomber on an experimental mission to destroy enemy shipping in Simpson Harbor, New Britain. The mission included 26 bombers deploying aircraft-borne mines to disrupt the flow of men and material to the sprawling Japanese base at Rabaul. Boyden’s plane took off at 2:30 in the morning as part of the last wave of attacking torpedo bombers. Once over the harbor, the American aircraft encountered intense anti-aircraft fire and sustained heavy losses. At the end of the battle, six bombers and their 18 crewman failed to return from their mission, including Boyden.
On Feb. 15, 1945, War Department officials declared Boyden deceased. The American Battle Monuments Commission memorialized Boyden and the other missing crewmen by inscribing their names on the Walls of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
In June 2011, a boat captain and recreational diver in Rabaul reported he had located and partially salvaged an underwater wreck in Simpson Harbor.
In November and December 2014, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (now DPAA) Underwater Recovery Team conducted an excavation of the crash site and recovered possible human remains.
From January to March 2016, personnel from DPAA conducted a second excavation and recovered additional remains. All of the remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Boyden’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a maternal relative, as well as used anthropological analysis, to include dental analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence. A rosette will be placed next to his name on the Walls of the Missing in Manila to indicate he has been accounted for.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 73,065 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.