Claude G. Tyler
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 33200253
320th Bomber Squadron, 90th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Maryland
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart. His remains have been recovered.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 987-10
Airmen Missing in Action from WWII Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces Staff Sergeants Claude A. Ray, 24, Coffeyville, Kansas, and Claude G. Tyler, 24, Landover, Maryland, will both be buried today – Ray in Fallbrook, California, and Tyler in Arlington National Cemetery. These two airmen, along with 10 other crew members, were ordered to carry out a reconnaissance mission in their B-24D Liberator, taking off from an airfield near Port Moresby, New Guinea, on Oct. 27, 1943. Allied plans were being formulated to mount an attack on the Japanese redoubt at Rabaul, New Britain. American strategists considered it critical to take Rabaul in order to support the eventual invasion of the Philippines. The crew’s assigned area of reconnaissance was the nearby shipping lanes in the Bismarck Sea. But during their mission, they were radioed to land at a friendly air strip nearby due to poor weather conditions. The last radio transmission from the crew did not indicate their location, and searchers that day and the following weeks were unable to locate the aircraft in spite of multiple searches over land and sea areas.
Following World War II, the Army Graves Registration Service conducted investigations and searches for 43 missing airmen, including Ray and Tyler, in the area but concluded in June 1949 that they were unrecoverable.
In August 2003 a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) received information on a crash site from a citizen in Papua New Guinea while they were investigating another case. He also turned over an identification card from one of the crew members and reported that there were possible human remains at the site of the crash. Twice in 2004 other JPAC teams attempted to visit the site but were unable to do so due to poor weather and hazardous conditions at the helicopter landing site. Another team was able to successfully excavate the site from January to March 2007 where they found several identification tags from the B-24D crew as well as human remains.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of relatives of Ray and Tyler — in the identification of their remains.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 74,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard