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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Porter M. Pile, 24, of Harlingen, Texas, killed during World War II, was accounted for Nov. 28, 2022.
In September 1944, Pile was assigned to 700th Bombardment Squadron, 445th Bombardment Group, 2d Air Division, 8th Air Force. On Sept. 27, the B-24H Liberator bomber on which he was serving as the navigator was part of a large mission to bomb the industrial city Kassel in northern Hesse, Germany. During the mission the formation of aircraft encountered heavy resistance from enemy ground and air forces, which resulted in the rapid loss of 25 Liberators. Several of the crew aboard Pile’s aircraft were able to bail out, and witnesses who survived did not report seeing him escape the aircraft. Six of the nine crew members were killed. His body was not recovered and the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war. The War Department issued a finding of death on Sept. 28, 1945.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They discovered the Liberator crash site outside of Richelsdorf, Germany. An identification tag for one of the missing crew members was discovered at this site, but there was no trace of 2nd Lt Pile.
In 2007, a German citizen led a team from what is now DPAA to the crash location of 2nd Lt Pile’s airplane, near the town of Richelsdorf, Germany. In 2009, another investigation team located items at that site, including parachute fabric and other debris, that led them to recommend the site for excavation. From 2015-2016, three recovery missions, led by DPAA archaeologists, excavated the crash site and recovered a data plate correlated to 2nd Lt Pile’s airplane; an identification tag for another member of 2nd Lt Pile’s crew; and remains that have been identified as those of 2nd Lt Pile.
To identify Pile’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological and dental analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Pile’s name is recorded on the Wall of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in England, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Pile will be buried on a date that has yet to be determined in Arlington National Cemetery.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.
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 https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Pile’s personnel profile can be viewed https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000LlaAEAS