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News Release

Press Release | Aug. 5, 2016

Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For (McIntosh)

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Robert L. McIntosh, 21, of Tipton, Indiana, will be buried August 13 in his hometown. On May 12, 1944, McIntosh was assigned to the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group, and was the pilot of a single-seat P38 aircraft, on a strafing mission against an enemy airfield in Piacenza, Italy. Due to poor weather conditions, the flight leader missed their intended target and began flying south. Following a brief air battle over Bologna, visibility worsened and the pilots were ordered to climb above the overcast. McIntosh’s aircraft was observed diving through the clouds and was not seen again.

On July 10, 1946, elements of the 2621st Graves Registration Unit conducted an investigation regarding McIntosh’s loss. A local witness stated that a plane crashed in the territory of Guiolar, Cotrignano Parish, and the pilot parachuted from the aircraft. The witness attempted to help the pilot reach local partisans, but they were both captured and taken to Bologna where they were separated, however reports of a pilot being captured were not substantiated.

In April 1948, a Board of Officers convened in Rome to review and determine the recoverability of missing service members. They were unable to substantiate a crash location for McIntosh’s aircraft, and declared his remains to be non-recoverable.

In September 2013, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (now DPAA) received information from private citizens regarding the partial excavation of a crash site in Santa Cristina, Italy. The citizens found evidence which conformed this was McIntosh’s crash site.

In August 2015, a DPAA recovery team excavated the crash site, with help from Archeologi dell’Aria, an Italian non-profit organization.

To identify McIntosh’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched two sisters, as well as dental and anthropological analysis and circumstantial 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 or call (703) 699-1420.