Remains of WWII pilot identified decades after fatal bombing mission

by Vern Evans

DETROIT — Military scientists have identified the remains of an Army Air Forces pilot from Michigan eight decades after he died during a World War II bombing mission in Southeast Asia.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Monday the remains of 2nd Lt. John E. McLauchlen Jr. of Detroit were identified in January and will be buried this summer at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

McLauchlen, 25, was the pilot of a B-24J Liberator bomber during a Dec. 1, 1943, bombing mission from India targeting a railroad yard in Myanmar, then known as Burma. After reaching the target, McLauchlen’s plane was reportedly hit by anti-aircraft fire, causing its left wing to catch fire.

The crippled plane was last seen with three enemy aircraft following it into the clouds and its crew members were later declared missing in action, the DPAA said.

In 1947, the remains of what were believed to be eight individuals involved in a potential B-24 Liberator crash were recovered in present-day Myanmar. They could not be identified and were interred as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

One set of those remains was disinterred in October 2020 and sent for analysis by DPAA scientists.

Those remains were identified as McLauchlen’s through anthropological analysis, circumstantial and material evidence and DNA analysis, the DPAA said.

Read the full article here

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