Airman From World War II Accounted For (Baskett)

Release No: 16-055 Aug. 5, 2016
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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Flight Officer Judson B. Baskett, 25, of Houston, Texas, will be buried August 12, in his hometown. On Nov. 27, 1945, Baskett was assigned to 1305th Army Air Force Base Unit, piloting a C-47B aircraft, en route from Singapore to Butterworth, Malaysia, to pick up cargo, along with two crewmembers. An hour after takeoff, the aircraft reported its position over Malacca, but failed to land as scheduled in Butterworth. An air search conducted in December did not locate a crash site.

In March 1946, an object that appeared to be a crashed aircraft was located about 45 miles south of Butterworth, on the side of a mountain. Multiple efforts were made to reach the crash site by foot, but were unsuccessful, due to the heavy jungle growth and wild animals. The object was later determined to be a waterfall, not an aircraft. Based on this information, the crew was declared deceased on Nov. 28, 1946.

In July 1966, the United States Air Attachè received a report from the Malaysian Ministry of Defense concerning the discovery of a WWII aircraft in the jungle. A joint investigation was conducted, which yielded material evidence, but no remains or personal effects.

On April 13, 2010, a Joint Personnel Accounting Command (JPAC), now DPAA, investigation team interviewed a local man who managed a logging area in the vicinity of the crash site. They visited the site and found aircraft wreckage, which exclusively correlated to the missing C-47 aircraft that Baskett had piloted.

In 2012, the Malaysian Historical group recovered personal effects at the crash site.

In August and September 2015, a joint Malaysian/U.S. team excavated the crash site, recovering possible remains.

To identify Baskett’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analyses, which matched Baskett’s records, and circumstantial and material evidence.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.