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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from World War II have been identified and are being
returned to the family for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Meceslaus T. Miaskiewicz, 27, of Salem, Mass. will be buried
on Nov. 12, in his hometown. On May 18, 1944, Miaskiewicz and ten other airmen departed
Tortorella Air Field, Italy, on a mission to bomb the Ploesti Oil Refinery in Romania, when their
B-17G aircraft was shot down over Yugoslavia – what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina. Three of the
crew members were detained as Prisoners of War by German forces, and returned to the United
States at the end of the war. The rest of the crew was presumed dead.
In 1947, the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) recovered the remains of
what was believed to be the missing eight crew members, who had been buried by the villagers of
Stubica, near the site of the crash. AGRS identified six of the airmen, and the other two, thought
to be Miaskiewicz and one other, were buried as group remains in Farmingdale, N.Y.
In 2011, U.S. government officials were notified that an archeological team from the town
of Ljubuski, had disinterred the remains of an American, whose grave had been tended by the
villagers of Stubica for more than 65 years. The Armed Forces Regional Medical Examiner’s
Office in Germany identified the remains as Miaskiewicz.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the
Armed Forces Regional Medical Examiner’s Office for Europe used dental analysis and
mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Miaskiewicz’s sisters — in the identification of his
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 remain 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) 699-1420.