United States Army Air Crew World War II – 4 November 1943

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NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense

No. 682-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2006

Missing WWII Airmen Identified

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that nine servicemen missing in action from World War II have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are First Lieutnant William M. Hafner, Norfolk, Virginia; Second Lieutenant Arthur C. Armacost, III, Cincinnati, Ohio; Second Lieutenant David R. Eppright, Warrensburg, Missouri; Second Lieutenant Charles F. Feucht, Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Technical Sergeant Raymond S. Cisneros, San Antonio, Texas; Technical Sergeant Alfred W. Hill, Temple, Oklahoma; Technical Sergeant James G. Lascelles, New York, New York; Staff Sergeant William C. Cameron, Los Angeles, California; and Staff Sergeant Wilburn W. Rozzell, Duncan, Oklahoma. All were members of the 63rd Bombardment Squadron, 43 Bombardment Group.

The individually-identified remains of Armacost, Cameron, Hafner and Lascelles will be buried July 19, 2006, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. as are the group remains representing all nine crewmen. Cisneros, Rozzell, Feucht, Eppright and Hill were buried elsewhere.

On November 4, 1943 Hafner and his crew took off in a B-24 Liberator from Dobodura, Territory of New Guinea.  The men were on an armed reconnaissance mission over the Bismark Sea.  A few hours into the flight Hafner sighted a convoy of Japanese ships and was told to shadow the convoy and report back. Four hours later the crew radioed from the B-24 that they had made three direct hits on the convoy and destroyed the target.  That was the last radio contact with the crew.

In March 2002 a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was contacted by a local government official through the U.S. Embassy. The team was exploring unrelated WW II aircraft crash sites in Papua New Guinea.  The official turned over aircraft data plates, human remains and three ID tags which had been found at a crash site in Morobe Province.

During the excavation of the site in August-September 2003, the team recovered additional remains and personal effects including identification tags and bracelets. The remains were submitted to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL).  Specialists at JPAC and AFDIL used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains of these servicemen.  Laboratory analysis of dental remains also confirmed their identification.


Nine WWII airmen laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery
Reynoldsburg man among military men honored

Nine World War II airmen, whose B-24 Liberator crashed in New Guinea while on a reconnaissance mission more than a half-century ago, were buried Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

The remains of the crew, along with dog tags, ID bracelets, coins, knives and a wallet were found at the crash site on a mountain slope in Papua New Guinea in 2002. U.S. investigators used DNA testing and dental records to identify the airmen.

On Wednesday, family members of the flight crew stood together behind a caisson, pulled by six white horses, as eight uniformed officers carried a flag-draped casket containing remains of all nine men to the burial site.

Two of the Army Air Force men — First Lieutenant  William M. Hafner of Norfolk, Virginia, and Technical Sergeant James G. Lascelles of New York — were buried in individual caskets at the Arlington cemetery during the same ceremony.

The other members of the crew, some of whom were buried elsewhere, were Second Lieutenant Arthur C. Armacost III, of Cincinnati; Second Lieutenant David R. Eppright, of Warrensburg, Missouri; Second Lieutenant Charles F. Feucht, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Technical Sergeant Raymond S. Cisneros, of San Antonio; Technical Sergeant Alfred W. Hill, of Temple, Oklahoma; Staff Sergeant William C. Cameron, of Los Angeles; and Staff Sergeant Wilburn W. Rozzell, of Duncan, Okla. All were members of the 63rd Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bombardment Group.

The funeral came almost 63 years after the airmen failed to return from a November 5, 1943, flight over the Bismark Sea near New Guinea, now Papua New Guinea. The airmen had been following a convoy of Japanese ships, which they reported had been destroyed. They were not heard from again.

William M. Hafner

First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-790659
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Virginia
Declared as Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

air-med

phmedal

wmhafner-gravesite-photo-august-2006-001

Arthur C. Armacost, III

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-801750
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Ohio
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

air-med

phmedal

David R. Eppright

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-669024
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Missouri
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

air-med

phmedal

Charles F. Feucht

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-673790
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Ohio
Decalred Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

air-med

phmedal

Raymond S. Cisneros

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 38204263
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Texas
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

phmedal

air-med

Alfred W. Hill

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 38089108
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Oklahoma
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

air-med

phmedal

James G. Lascelles

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 32501454
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New York
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

phmedal

air-med

jglascelles-gravesite-photo-august-2006-001

William C. Cameron 

Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 19174370
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: California
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

air-med

phmedal

Wilburn W. Rozzell

Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 18129869
63rd Bomber Squadron, 43rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Oklahoma
Declared Died: 15-Jan-46
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

phmedal

air-med

aircrew-11051943-gravesite-photo-august-2006

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