Remains of WWII soldier from West Plains recovered - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Remains of WWII soldier from West Plains recovered

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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced Wednesday that the remains of a West Plains serviceman, missing in action from WWII, has been identified and returned to his family.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John E. Hogan of West Plains will be buried on August 24 in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.  

On September 13, 1944, Hogan and eight other crew members were on a B-17G Flying Fortress that crashed near Neustadt-on-Werra, Germany. There is only one known survivor of that crash, while the other eight crewmen were buried by German forces in a cemetery in Neustadt.

After the war, U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel tried to recover the remains of the eight men who were killed in the crash, but were only able to move the remains of one man to a U.S. military cemetery in Holland. In 1953, the remains of the seven unaccounted for crewmen were declared non-recoverable due to access to eastern Germany being restricted by the Soviet Union.

In 1991, a German national was digging a grave in the cemetery in Neustadt, discovered a metal U.S. military identification tag and notified officials. Due to German burial law, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) wasn't allowed to access the site until 2007 and the site was then excavated in 2008. The team was able to recover human remains and metal identification tags from three of the crew members.

JPAC scientists were able to identify Hogan by using circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA that matched Hogan's cousin.

At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted for from the conflict.

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