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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, lost during World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Louis L. Longman, 26, of Clinton, Iowa, will be buried April 12, in Rock Island, Ill. On April 16, 1944, Longman was the pilot of a P-38J Lightning aircraft that departed Nadzab, New Guinea, as part of a bomber escort mission against enemy targets on the island. His aircraft never returned after the mission, a day that came to be known as “Black Sunday” due to the extensive loss of American lives. Due to the nature of the war and mission, search and recovery efforts were unsuccessful.
A Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team was investigating sites in the mountains of Papua New Guinea in February 2005, when two villagers turned over human remains that they claimed to have recovered from a wartime crash near their village. The team was not able to survey the site at that time.
From 2007 to 2010, JPAC survey and excavation teams recovered additional remains and aircraft wreckage from the site.
To identify Longman’s remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Longman’s niece.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. There are more than 73,000 servicemen whose remains were never recovered. Since 2007, the Department of Defense has identified and laid to rest 190 service members who were unaccounted-for from World War II.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.