WWII Soldier Identified (Kiger)

Release No: 13-031 July 16, 2013 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. Jerome E. Kiger, of Mannington, W.V., will be buried on July 21, in Fairmont, W.V. On July 21, 1944, a B-24H Liberator aircraft, which carried nine crew members, was shot down by enemy fire and crashed while on a bombing raid to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Of the nine crew members, six were able to parachute to safety and a seventh crewman’s remains were recovered near Hadorf. Kiger and another crewman were not recovered. Attempts to recover their remains after the war were unsuccessful.

In 2009, a German national turned over human remains to a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigating team who was operating in southern Germany. The German national recovered the remains and aircraft wreckage from a crash site southwest of Munich.

In 2012, a JPAC recovery team excavated the suspected crash site southwest of Munich, locating additional human remains and aircraft wreckage.

To identify Kiger’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 Kiger’s sister and niece.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.