The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. James G. Maynard, of Ellenwood, Ga., will be buried on April 22 at Arlington National Cemetery. On March 12, 1945, Maynard and five crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission to guerilla troops. Once cleared for takeoff, there was no further communication between the aircrew and airfield operators. When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area ten miles on either side of the intended route was initiated. No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six men were presumed killed in action. Their remains were determined to be non-recoverable in 1949.
In 1989, a Philippine National Police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte. Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).
From 1989 to 2009, JPAC sought permission to send teams to the crash site but unrest in the Burauen region precluded on-scene investigations or recovery operations. Meanwhile, JPAC scientists continued the forensic process, analyzing the remains and physical evidence already in hand.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Maynard’s cousin—in the identification of his remains.
At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 72,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1420 or visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.