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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Edgar L. Mills, 25, of Tampa, Florida, killed during World War II, was accounted for Feb. 13, 2023.
In the summer of 1944, Mills was assigned to the 816th Bomber Squadron (Heavy), 483rd Bomber Group (Heavy), 15th Air Force. On July 18, Mills an armorer gunner, onboard a B-17G was killed in action when the bomber was shot down during a bombing raid on enemy aircraft and air defense installations around Memmingen, Germany. 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 July 26, 1951.
Due to the damage to the B-17G the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. Six of the airmen parachuted successfully while the other five crew members including Mills were believed to still be on board. The surviving crew witnessed the aircraft explode in an area south of Memmingen, Germany.
Beginning in 1946, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), Army Quartermaster Corps, was the organization tasked with recovering missing American personnel in the European Theater. In 1946, AGRC investigators searched the area of the crash site, they discovered two sets of remains however none were associated with Mills. He was declared non-recoverable July 26, 1951.
In 2012 three German witnesses led what is now known as DPAA to an aircraft crash site near Kimratshofen, Germany. Which resulted in subsequent investigation and recovery efforts in 2013, with a 2018 recovery mission finding possible human remains and material evidence.
In 2019, a DPAA partner team from the University of New Orleans continued work at the Kimratshofen site, recovering additional material, which was also transferred to the DPAA laboratory in Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
To identify Mills’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), analysis.
Mills’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Epinal American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Dinoze, France, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Mills' will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2023.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
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 or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.