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 Pfc. Joseph I. Natvik, 20, of Madison, Wisconsin, accounted for on Sept. 24, 2018, will be buried November 25 in Columbus, Wisconsin. On July 17, 1945, Natvik, a member of the 1330 Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command, was the engineer on board a C-109 aircraft, en route from Jorhat, India, to Hsinching, China, over “The Hump,” when the aircraft crashed in a remote area. All four crew members were declared deceased after an extensive search effort failed to locate the crash site.
In late 2007, an independent investigator, Clayton Kuhles, discovered aircraft wreckage in a deep ravine at a high altitude that correlated with Natvik’s aircraft. Possible osseous remains were recovered and turned over to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (a predecessor to DPAA).
In February 2009, a contracted group traveled to the reported crash site and confirmed the location of the aircraft wreckage. Also in 2009, a local resident in India turned over additional bone fragments he had taken from the crash site.
One set of remains was identified on Feb. 9, 2016 as the co-pilot, 1st Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst, 24, of Yonkers, New York. Langhorst was buried Nov. 26, 2016, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Another set of remains was identified Sept. 24, 2018, as Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Allen R. Turner, 25, of Brookline, Massachusetts.
To identify Natvik’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Clayton Kuhles and the government of India for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,782 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Natvik’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Taguig City, Philippines, along with the others 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) 699-1420/1169.