- Posted August 5, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Home and Away: Remembering the fallen
Missing WII Airman Comes Home
Aug. 2, 2013
WWII SOLDIER IDENTIFIED
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, lost in World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors along with his fellow crew member.
Army Air Force Sgt. Dominick J. Licari, 31, of Frankfort, N.Y., will be buried on Aug. 6, in Frankfort, N.Y. On March 13, 1944, Licari was a crew member of an A-20G Havoc bomber that failed to return to base in a country now known as Papua New Guinea. The aircraft crashed after attacking enemy targets on the island. Licari died along with crewmember 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard. In 2012 the
A-20G crash site in the mountains of Papua New Guinea was excavated and the remains of Licari and
Pollard were recovered.
To identify the remains of Licari, scientists from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used
circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Licari’s brother.
There are more than 400,000 American service members that were killed during WWII, and
the remains of more than 73,000 were never recovered or identified.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
A-20G-10-DO Havoc Serial Number 42-54082
Pilot 2nd Lt. Valerie L. Pollard, O-749490 (MIA / KIA) CA
Gunner Sgt Dominic J. Licari, 32292046 (MIA / KIA) NY
One of nine A-20s that took off from Gusap Airfield led by Major Wells a mission attacking Alexishafen Airfield at 8:30am. Returning from the mission in the afternoon, the formation of eight A-20s was low on fuel and were following Ken Hedges in bad weather into the Finisterre Range. This aircraft plus A-20G 42-54085 and A-20G 42-54117. slammed into a mountainside in the Finisterre Range.
The next day, the 398th Bombardment Squadron A-20s searched for the missing A-20s, but found no trace of them, and continued to search for the next week and other 5th Air Force aircraft were notified to search.
Col. Strauss (312th BG C. O.) in 1985 referred to the loss of those six boys "a damned waste", he always felt responsible.
This crash site was discovered at 9,500' 15 miles south of Saidor area, as badly smashed wreckage. Visited by US Army CILHI in September 1983, but no remains were recovered. Visited again on August 22, 1990.
This was Lt. Pollard's first mission.
The aircraft in the photo was one of the other 2 also lost on this mission.
Additional info on this report is from Pacific Wrecks website.