The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. Army Air Forces crewman have been identified and are being returned
to his family for burial with military honors.
Staff Sergeant Robert W. McKee of Garvey, Calif., will be buried in Arlington National
Cemetery on April 12.
On Dec. 17, 1944, McKee was an aerial gunner on an 11-member crew of a
B-24L Liberator that took off from Pantanella, Italy, on a mission to bomb enemy targets near
Blechhammer, Germany. The aircraft crashed over Hungary, near the small towns of Böhönye
and Felsosegesd, with the loss of two crewmen including McKee. The other nine were able to
safely parachute from the aircraft. Following the war, the remains of the other unaccounted-for
crewman were found in a cemetery in Felsosegesd.
Following the war, remains from an American aircraft crash near Vienna, Austria, were
found buried with McKee’s military identification tag. But the remains were identified as those
of another flyer. Further analysis revealed that McKee had flown on the same plane and had lost
his identification tag, most likely on that aircraft.
In 1992 an undertaker recovered remains believed to be those of an American in the
Böhönye, Hungary, cemetery but they could not be associated with a specific incident. But in
2003, DPMO analysts obtained information from a Hungarian researcher which indicated that
the remains might be associated with McKee’s loss. Aerial gunner’s wings were found in the
grave, as well as other items worn by U.S. bomber crews in 1944.
Scientists of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA
Identification Laboratory used a number of forensic tools inc luding mitochondrial DNA to
confirm Staff Sergeant McKee’s identity, matching his DNA with that of two known maternal
Of the 88,000 Americans missing from all conflicts, 78,000 are from World
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo, or call 703-699-1169.