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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 469-02
September 14, 2002

DOD OFFICIAL CITES PROGRESS ON WWII MIAS IN BURMA

A Department of Defense delegation has concluded a visit to Rangoon, Burma, where it laid the framework for operations to recover the remains of WWII American servicemen whose aircraft crashed in Burma while flying missions against the Japanese.

Jerry D. Jennings, deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, met with senior Burmese officials in Rangoon this week to discuss U.S. recovery operations at four sites in Burma. The government of Burma pledged full support for these recovery missions.

Jennings invited Burmese officials to visit the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) next month to meet with U.S. scientists who lead the field excavations and conduct forensic identification work in their laboratory. The visit is to familiarize Burmese specialists with U.S. remains recovery and identification procedures in order to facilitate operations in Burma.

CILHI has identified four crash sites of C-47 cargo aircraft that crashed in 1944 and 1945 in the northern part of Burma. Technical talks are to be held in Burma in November to arrange details on the excavation of the four sites in early 2003. During the talks, the U.S. team will seek to visit each site and survey them for subsequent excavation.

More than 78,000 Americans are missing in action from WWII. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office establishes and oversees U.S. policies on accounting for missing Americans from all conflicts.

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