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Airmen missing from WWII accounted for

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Feb. 23, that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Montana; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake City; Herbert V. Young Jr. of Clarkdale, Arizona and Tech Sgts. Charles L. Johnston of Pittsburgh; Hugh F. Moore of Elkton, Maryland and Staff Sgts. John E. Copeland of Dearing, Kansas; Charles J. Jones of Athens, Georgia; and Sgt. Charles A. Gardner of San Francisco, have been accounted for and buried, or scheduled to be buried, with full military honors.

Jones will be buried Feb. 28 in Athens, Georgia and Johnston will be buried March 2, in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. On March 18, there will be a group burial service at Arlington National Cemetery honoring Poulsen, Copeland and the other crew members.

Bernier was buried Sept. 19, 2014, in his hometown. Young was buried Oct. 15, 2014, in Prescott, Arizona, Moore was buried on Nov. 11, 2014, in his hometown. Gardner was buried on Dec. 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery.

On April 10, 1944, 12 B-24D Liberator crew members took off from Texter Strip, Nazdab Air Field, New Guinea, on a mission to attack an anti-aircraft site at Hansa Bay. The aircraft was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire over the Madang Province, New Guinea. Four of the crewmen were able to parachute from the aircraft, but were reported to have died in captivity.

Following World War II, the Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) conducted investigations and recovered the remains of three of the missing Airmen. In May 1949, AGRS concluded the remaining nine crew members were unrecoverable.

In 2001, a U.S.-led team located wreckage of a B-24D that bore the tail number of this aircraft. After several surveys, Defense Department teams excavated the site and recovered human remains and non-biological material evidence.

For additional information on the DOD’s mission to account for missing Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call 703-699-1169.