The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Harry B. McGuire, 24, of Chester, Ill., will be buried June 3, in Saint Louis. On Jan. 30, 1944, McGuire and elements of the 718th Squadron, 449th Bomber Group, 15th Air Force, were flying out of Grottaglie, Italy on a bombing missing. McGuire was the navigator of a ten-man B-24H Liberator that was shot down by enemy forces while returning from the mission against enemy forces near Udine, Italy. According to the flight path, the plane initially was believed to have crashed in the Gulf of Trieste, south of the island of Grado. The remains of two crew members were recovered after the crash and one serviceman parachuted from the aircraft and was captured by enemy forces. The remaining seven crew members including McGuire, were declared dead and non-recoverable.
On Feb. 22, 2010, Department of Defense (DoD) analysts traveled to the Isle of Morgo and interviewed several local Italian nationals who claimed to have information relating to the crash site. The nationals recalled that the plane crashed on Jan. 30, 1944, as it impacted and buried itself in a pond on the island.
On May 7, 2014, while assessing logistical requirements for a future recovery, a Department of Defense (DoD) team found material evidence and human remains near the pond.
To identify McGuire’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used forensic identification tools to include mitochondrial DNA, which matched his nephew.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted for from the conflict.
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 call (703) 699-1420.