- Posted July 14, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Home and Away: Remembering the fallen
Missing WWII Airman Comes Home
Airmen Missing From WWII Accounted For
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that two U.S. servicemen, missing from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
The two servicemen are Army Air Force Staff Sgts. Robert E. Howard, 21, of Moravia, Iowa, and David R. Kittredge, 22, of Oneida, Wis. The individually identified remains of Howard will be buried on July 19, in Moulton, Iowa. The individually identified remains of Kittredge will be buried at a date and location still to be determined. Some of the remains could not be individually identified and they will be buried as a group in a single casket, at
a future date at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On April 16, 1945, three aircraft were flying in a formation on a bombing raid to Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, when the pilots of two other aircraft reported seeing Howard and Kittredge’s aircraft hit by enemy fire. The B-26B descended into a deep dive and exploded upon ground impact.
In 2007, a German aircraft researcher interviewed eyewitnesses, who reported seeing two deceased crew members buried near the crash site under an apple tree. He also reported the crew members as being exhumed in 1947 or 1948, by an allied recovery team.
In June 2012, a German national informed the U.S. government that he found possible human remains in Muhlanger, which he believed to have been associated with an April 1945, B-26B crash, and turned them over to the local police. In July 2012, a JPAC team began excavating the site recovering human remains, personal effects and aircraft wreckage. JPAC also took custody of the remains that the local German national had previously recovered.
To identify Howard’s remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
To identify Kittredge’s remains, scientists from JPAC and AFDIL also used mtDNA and dental comparisons, which matched his records.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPMO web site at
www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.