The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. Army Air Forces airman, missing since 1942, have been identified and
will soon be returned to his family for burial.
He is Aviation Cadet Ernest G. Munn, U.S. Army Air Forces, of St. Clairsville, Ohio. He
will be buried in May in Colerain, Ohio.
Representatives from the Army met with Munn’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and
identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary
of the Army.
Munn was one of four men aboard a routine navigation training flight that departed
Mather Field, Calif., on Nov. 18, 1942. Their AT-7 Navigator aircraft carried about five hours of
fuel, and when the plane did not return to base, a search was initiated. It was suspended about a
month later with no results.
In 1947, several hikers on Darwin Glacier in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
discovered the wreckage of the AT-7 aircraft. Fragmentary, skeletal remains found at the site
were buried as a group in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, Calif.
Then in October 2005, other hikers in the Sierra Nevadas discovered frozen human
remains, circumstantial evidence and personal effects of an aircrew member. Park rangers from
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and a forensic anthropologist from the Joint
POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) recovered the remains. They were shipped to the
JPAC laboratory in Hawaii and identified as Cadet Leo M. Mustonen, one of the four men aboard
the AT-7 aircraft.
In 2007, two other hikers found human remains near the 2005 discovery site. Among
other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the
Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification
of a second individual from the 1942 crew, Cadet Ernest G. Munn.
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.