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News Release

Press Release | June 5, 2018

Funeral Announcement For Airman Killed During World War II (Bailey, J.S.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. John S. Bailey, 28, of Woodstock, Virginia, accounted for on Sept. 18, 2017, will be buried June 13, in Winchester, Virginia. On Jan. 21, 1944, Bailey was a member of the 38th Bombardment Squadron, (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group, stationed at Hawkins Field, Helen Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, when his B-24J bomber crashed shortly after take-off.

Following the crash, the squadron’s physician recovered the remains of six individuals who died in the crash and interred them in the Main Marine Cemetery No. 33 on Betio Island.

Following the war, the U.S. Army’s 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947. Using Marine Corps records, they began the task of consolidating all the remains from isolated burial sites into a single cemetery called Lone Palm Cemetery. The remains of the crew on the B-24J bomber were believed to be among those moved, however Bailey’s remains were not identified and he was declared non-recoverable.

In May 2017, DPAA, through a partnership with History Flight, Inc., returned to Betio to conduct excavations of osseous remains. The remains were sent to DPAA for analysis.

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

DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for their partnership in 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 72,917 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Bailey’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, 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, find us on social media at or call (703) 699-1420/1169.