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The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of seven U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are Capt. Joseph M. Olbinski, Chicago, Ill.; 1st Lt. Joseph J. Auld, Floral Park, N.Y.; 1st Lt. Robert M. Anderson, Millen, Ga.; Tech. Sgt. Clarence E. Frantz, Tyrone, Penn.; Pfc. Richard M. Dawson, Haynesville, Va.; Pvt. Robert L. Crane, Sacramento, Calif.; and Pvt. Fred G. Fagan, Piedmont, Ala.; all U.S. Army Air Forces. The remains representing the entire crew will be buried as a group in a single casket. Two of the men, Anderson and Auld, were individually identified. Anderson’s remains will be interred with the group. Auld will be buried nearby. All are to be buried July 15 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On May 23, 1944, the men were aboard a C-47A Skytrain that departed Dinjan, India, on an airdrop mission to resupply Allied forces near Myitkyina, Burma. When the crew failed to return, air and ground searches found no evidence of the aircraft along the intended flight path.
In late 2002, a missionary provided U.S. officials a data plate from a C-47 crash site approximately 31 miles northwest of Myitkyina. In 2003, a Burmese citizen turned over human remains and an identification tag or bracelet for three of the crew members.
A Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team excavated the crash site in 2003 and 2004, recovering additional remains and crew-related equipment—including an identification tag for Dawson.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of some of the crewmembers’ families – as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
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.