FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2020
Ceremony Honors Fallen U.S. Service Members from World War II in Myanmar
MANDALAY — Today the United States repatriated the recovered possible human remains of U.S. service members missing from World War II in the Salingyi area of Sagaing Region during a recent recovery mission through the U.S. Department of Defense’s agency the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). These remains will be transported back to the DPAA Laboratory in Hawaii, USA for further analysis and potential identification. The repatriation ceremony, conducted at the Mandalay International Airport, was the second such ceremony held in Myanmar.
“Over 75 years ago, brave Americans gave their lives on a river bank in Sagaing, fighting for peace, justice and freedom far from home. Today we recommit to those noble values as we repatriate the possible remains of those U.S. citizens and honor their service and their sacrifices,” Deputy Chief of Mission George Sibley said.
After finding possible remains last year in the same region, DPAA returned in 2020 to continue its search. The remains are believed to be associated with a B-25G aircraft with seven personnel onboard during the time of loss in February 1944. A 1946 investigation located the wreckage; the grave site remained unaccounted for. DPAA’s forensics labs have not yet confirmed the identity of any service members associated with osseous material repatriated from Myanmar in 2019.
DPAA conducted three missions in Myanmar between 2003 and 2004, and another nine missions between 2013 and 2020. There are currently 505 U.S. service members still unaccounted for in Myanmar from World War II. As a result of past efforts, DPAA has identified 23 missing service members and will continue efforts to achieve the fullest possible accounting.
“The United States is deeply grateful to the government and the people of Myanmar for their partnership and support of this mission,” Deputy Chief of Mission George Sibley said.
DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting of U.S. personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation. DPAA is responsible for implementing the Secretary of Defense’s program to account for the more than 81,900 Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and other individuals who remain unaccounted from the World War II era through the Gulf Wars.
The DPAA Laboratory is the largest and most diverse forensic skeletal identification laboratory in the world and is staffed by more than 65 anthropologists, archaeologists and forensic odontologists.
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 call (703) 699-1420/1169.
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