Press Release | Nov. 15, 2021

Soldier Accounted For From World War II (Heffernan, J.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Air Forces 1st Lt. John J. Heffernan, Jr., 24, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Nov. 2, 2021.

In February 1944, Heffernan was a member of the 490th Bomb Squadron, 341st Bomb Group, 10th Air Force. On Feb. 22, he was serving as the navigator of a B-25G Mitchell bomber while on a bombing mission from Kurmitola, India, to railroads south of Monywa, Burma. Before reaching the target, Heffernan’s plane burst into flames and crashed near Letpadaung. Local villagers told investigators at the time that the Japanese confiscated all personal items from the crash and told them to bury the bodies.

Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in the Pacific Theater. Despite several attempts, AGRS was unable to locate or identify Heffernan. He was declared non-recoverable on Feb. 8, 1948.

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 or find us on social media at or

Heffernan’s personnel profile can be viewed at