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News & Stories
News | Jan. 5, 2017

American Missing From World War II Identified (Atkinson)

Mr. Peter Atkinson, missing from World War II, has now been accounted for.



In mid-1941, Atkinson, formerly in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, was recruited to be among a small group of American pilots to battle Japanese forces invading China. He was employed with the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO), which was officially termed the “American Volunteer Group,” (AVG) and popularly known as the “Flying Tigers.” The AVG consisted of three fighter squadrons, each with approximately 30 Curtiss P-40 single-seat aircraft. In September 1941, Atkinson was training with other AVG pilots at Kyedaw Airfield, a British Royal Air Force airfield outside of Toungoo, Burma. Though most of the recruits were experienced pilots, none had seen combat. To prepare them, the AVG instituted an aggressive training program, encouraging their pilots to carry out mock battles. Atkinson was killed during a training flight on Oct. 25, 1941, when his plane was reported to have disintegrated in a dive. He was reportedly buried in the Airmen's Cemetery at St. Luke's Anglican Church in Toungoo.



In late December 1947, an American Graves Registration Service team recovered the remains of three members of the AVG. The remains were declared unidentifiable and were temporarily interred in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Barrackpore, India in January, 1948. The remains were eventually moved to Hawaii in an attempt to identify them, designated as X-633, X-634 and X-635, but identification was unsuccessful. They were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, as World War II Unknowns.



On April 11, 2016, due to advancements in forensic capabilities, X-635 was disinterred and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.




Interment services are pending.


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Public Affairs Contact Information


Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency PAO
Washington, D.C.
2300 Defense Pentagon
Attn: Outreach and Communications
Washington, D.C. 20301-2300
Email: dpaa.ncr.oc.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil