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 Staff Sgt. Roy F. Davis, 26, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, accounted for on June 7, 2017, will be buried June 23 in Ashby, Massachusetts. On March 12, 1944, Davis was a member of the 13th Bombardment Squadron, 3rd Bombardment Group, as one of two crewmembers aboard an A-20G Havoc bomber that failed to return to base in northeastern New Guinea after attacking enemy targets on the island.
Attempts to locate the aircraft and crew, both during and after the war, were unsuccessful. The War Department declared Davis, as well the other crewmember, 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird, deceased on June 30, 1949; their remains were listed as non-recoverable.
In September 2001, a team from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory (a predecessor to DPAA) located a crash site in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. A native Papuan turned over pieces of wreckage he claimed to have recovered from the crash site. The team also recovered possible remains. On July 15, 2013, the remains were identified as Bird’s.
In February and March 2016, a DPAA Recovery Team excavated the crash site, and recovered additional remains and material evidence. The remains were subsequently sent to the DPAA laboratory.
To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
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. Davis’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in the Philippines, 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) 699-1420/1169.