US locates missing World War II soldiers’ remains in India

The United States Tuesday said it has successfully located remains of the country’s servicemen who went missing in Arunachal Pradesh during World War II. A Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) team carried out works on sites in the Himalayas where US aircrafts are believed to have crashed with still unaccounted for servicemen.

The team visited several locations in Arunachal Pradesh to determine if the reported sites can be definitively correlated with known crash sites involving missing US servicemen.

“The United States is committed to making sure all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served our country come home. DPAA’s mission in India is a vital part of that commitment,” American Ambassador to India Richard Verma said.

In a statement by the American Embassy here, Mission Commander Lt Col Pritz said, “we want to thank the government of India, the Ministry of External Affairs, the government of Arunachal Pradesh, and the Indian Air Force for their invaluable assistance and cooperation in conducting this mission. Without their support, this mission would not have been successful”.

If the team can corroborate evidence at the site with the historical records and reports, future missions to the sites may conduct an excavation in an attempt to recover the remains and return them for identification.

While discussing about the sites with local residents, the team received a presentation of human remains and osseous material, which a witness recovered near a crashed aircraft.

After arriving at the sites, the team found additional human remains believed to be associated with the missing US service members. Once approved by the Indian government, these remains will be sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification. All these spots were located within Arunachal Pradesh, which is where the vast majority of losses took place.

The team trekked to sites ranging from 2,500 feet to 10,000 feet in altitude, over trails that took anywhere from a few hours to several days to reach from the last point a vehicle could travel.

Last year, the DPAA had successfully recovered remains from the same region. In April, US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter received the remains from the Indian government and the process to identify them is underway.

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