The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and
are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
The funeral for U.S. Army Air Forces Sgt. Martin A. Gill, 26, of Linden, Calif., will be
held Sunday in his hometown. On March 12, 1945, Gill and five crew members aboard a C-47A
Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission to guerilla
troops. Once cleared for takeoff there was no further communication between the aircrew and
airfield operators. When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area ten miles on
either side of the intended route was initiated. No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six
men were presumed killed in action. Their remains were determined to be non-recoverable in
In 1989, a Philippine National Police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible
World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte. Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts were
turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting
From 1989 to 2009, JPAC sought permission to send teams to the crash site but unrest in
the Burauen region precluded on-scene investigations or recovery operations. Meanwhile, JPAC
scientists continued the forensic process, analyzing the remains and physical evidence already in
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, the Armed Forces
DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Gill’s cousin—
in the identification of his remains.
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, call 703-699-1420 or visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.