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Remains of U.S. airman whose bomber was shot down in World War II identified 81 years later



Remains of U.S. airman whose bomber was shot down in World War II identified 81 years later

A Connecticut man who was killed on a bombing mission in Burma during World War II has been accounted for, U.S. officials said Wednesday. 

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Frank Tedone was 23 years old when he served as a gunner onboard a B-24J Liberator bomber as part of the 436th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. 

On Dec. 1, 1943, Tedone and nine other crew members flew on a bombing mission from Panagarh, India to a railroad yard near Rangoon, Burma. Their plane was reportedly “hit by anti-aircraft fire, causing the left wing to burst into flames,” according to the DPAA, and the aircraft “entered a steep dive” before disappearing. 

Three enemy aircraft were also seen following the plane, the DPAA said. No further contact was made with the crew of the plane. 

Tedone and other crew members with an aircraft.

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

No remains were recovered or identified, and the crew members, including Tedone, were declared missing in action. It wasn’t until 1947 that the American Grave Registration Service recovered the remains of eight individuals lost in a B-24 Liberator crash in Burma. The remains had been buried in two large graves under orders from Japanese forces occupying the area at the time of the crash. 

The remains were transferred from those large graves and interred as unknown soldiers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

In early 2019, the DPAA received a request from a family to disinter the one of the eight sets of remains. All of the remains were exhumed, and they were sent to the agency’s laboratories for analysis. The experts studying the remains use scientific processes like dental records, isotope analysis, mitochondrial and chromosomal analysis, and more to attempt to make an identification. Historians and other DPAA employees also use circumstantial and material evidence to help identify remains. 

Frank Tedone.

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Tedone’s remains were identified on February 20, 2024. 

A rosette has been placed beside his name on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Phillippines, indicating that he has been accounted for. 

He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, the DPAA said. All fallen soldiers identified by the DPAA are entitled to a military funeral. 

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