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News Release

Press Release | June 3, 2024

Airman Accounted for from WWII (Powers, C.)

Washington  –  

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces Pvt. 1st Class Charles R. Powers, 18, of Riverside, California, who was captured and died as a prisoner of war during World War II, was accounted for May 26, 2023.

In late 1941, Powers was a member of 28th Materiel Squadron, 20th Air Base Group, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands in December. Intense fighting continued until the surrender of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and of Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942.

Thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were captured and interned at POW camps.  Powers was among those reported captured when U.S. forces in Bataan surrendered to the Japanese. They were subjected to the 65-mile Bataan Death March and then held at the Cabanatuan POW camp. More than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the war.

According to prison camp and other historical records, Powers died July 18,1942, and was buried along with other deceased prisoners in the local Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery in Common Grave 312.

Following the war, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery and relocated the remains to a temporary U.S. military mausoleum near Manila. In 1947, the AGRS examined the remains in an attempt to identify them. Three of the sets of remains were recovered from Common Grave 312 but were declared unidentifiable. The unidentified remains were buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (MACM) as Unknowns.

In January 2018, the remains associated with Common Grave 312 were disinterred and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Powers’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Mitochondrial (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome (Y-STR) DNA analysis.

Although interred as an Unknown in MACM, Powers’ grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Pfc. Powers will be buried in Riverside, California, on a July 18, 2024.

For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.

DPAA is grateful to the ABMC and the United States Army for their partnership in this mission.

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, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.

Powers’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000Llo2EAC.