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. Charles E. Carlson, 24, of Flushing, New York, will be buried August 4 in Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. On Dec. 23, 1944, Carlson was a P-47 pilot with the 62nd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force, and was shot down south of Bonn, Germany, during an air battle between American and German pilots. His wingman believed that Carlson had bailed from the plane; however, German officials reported finding and burying Carlson’s remains at the crash site near Buschhoven, Germany.
An investigation after the war by the American Graves Registration Command in 1948 found material evidence and eyewitness testimony linking a crash site near Buschhoven to Carlson’s plane. However, efforts to find his remains at the site were unsuccessful.
In March 2008, an independent German researcher contacted the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (now DPAA) with information regarding a plane crash near Buschhoven. He informed analysts that a local German resident had found parts of an aircraft and other material evidence consistent with a P-47 aircraft.
Between May 2008 and September 2009, JPAC historians conducted more interviews of potential eyewitnesses and research on the site of the crash. Based on information gathered during this work, JPAC investigators recommended excavation of the Buschhoven site for possible remains.
In October 2015, an independent organization, History Flight, Inc., conducted a preliminary investigation of the crash site. Through a partnership agreement with DPAA, History Flight conducted recovery efforts between Feb. 2, 2016 and May 17, 2016, where they found material evidence, aircraft wreckage and possible human remains. The remains were accessioned to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Carlson’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as historical research and analysis.
DPAA is appreciative to History Flight, Inc. and their partnership for this recovery mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 73,046 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Carlson’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing 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.