HomeNewsArticle Display

World War II Airman's remains identified

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The remains of an Airman missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, said the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in a Defense Department news release issued Aug. 6.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Stephen V. Biezis of Chicago will be buried Aug. 14 in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, according to the release. His copilot, 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville, Florida, was buried Jan. 30 in Bushnell, Florida.

On Dec. 23, 1944, Biezis and his crew of five were assigned to the 575th Bombardment Squadron and were deployed to Germany. Biezis was the copilot of a B-26C Marauder that crashed after being struck by enemy fire while on a bombing mission against enemy forces near Ahrweiler, Germany. Biezis, Gatlin and three other crew members were reported killed in action. His remains were not recovered during the war.

One of the crew members parachuted from the aircraft but was captured and held as a prisoner of war by German forces, the release stated. Following his release, he reported to U.S. officials that he had no knowledge of the fate of the remaining crewmen.

Following the war, the American Graves Registration Command conducted investigations on the loss of Biezis and his crew and successfully located the crash site, near Manderscheid and Bettenfeld. The remains of two crewmen were recovered.

According to the release, on May 27, 1999, a U.S. team investigating World War II losses in Germany visited a crash site near Bettenfeld. Two German nationals had researched the crash site and showed the team artifacts that were found and turned over remains collected from the site. The remains were identified as Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Joe R. Sanchez, 20, of Los Nietos, California. He was accounted for in March 2011, and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Between 2011 and 2014, DOD teams have traveled to Bettenfeld and conducted operations at the crash site, the release stated.

To identify Biezis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used forensic identification tools to include mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and cousin, according to the release.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted for from the conflict, the release stated.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @USEmbassyPH: "Our relationship with the Philippine Air Force remains strong and will continue to grow." - Chief of Staff of the @usairf
RT @HQUSAFEPA: U.S. Air Forces Africa conducts multilateral mil-to-mil engagements and security assistance with Africa air forces in order…
RT @AF_SBIR_STTR: Over the span of two days, more than 150 Airmen representing 50 bases and 200 entrepreneurs representing 100 #SBIR Phase…
RT @JointBasePHH: The Sentry Aloha 19-2 exercise is taking place here at JBPHH. If you've noticed some unfamiliar aircraft in the sky, it's…
RT @AETCommand: 🙌👏 Congrats to Tech. Sgt. Stephen Conklin, @APDInfo police officer & former military working dog handler, who rocked the te…
.@detroitpolice Hello #Detroit!!! #americasairforce is in town. Check out photos from the 11th Precinct Youth Olym… https://t.co/ijzV6uVSQs
RT @airandspace: Today in 1961, Jacqueline Cochran set a new speed record for women, flying the Museum's Northrop T-38 Talon. Learn more ab…
RT @USNationalGuard: Military medical specialists from the @AirNatlGuard @usairforce @USAFReserve @USArmy @USArmyReserve and @USNavy Reserv…
RT @AETCommand: Thanks for your years of service, Wax! 🐕 In his 9 years on "active duty," Wax was a critical part of 11 U.S. Secret Servic…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @AFMarathon will be the 229th for cancer #survivor Julia Khvasechko, who will pace the 4:25 #running group at this year's…
RT @AETCommand: 2nd Lt. Brian Lee, 333rd TRS student, completes a pull-up during the 81st SFS Defender's Challenge Ruck at @81trwKeeslerAFB
RT @AFThunderbirds: It’s day 1 of the @ROCAirShow! Catch us in the sky @ 3 pm. @AirshowStuff @icas_hq @NewsAirshow @AirShowNetwork https://…
RT @AF_Football: 1 week till go time ⚡️ https://t.co/PNoLjfIUGG
RT @DOD_Outreach: Bring the heat! The @AFThunderbirds demonstrate precision flying during the @SDairshow for thousands of members of the c…
.@AF_Academy Off we go into the wild #Blue yonder... https://t.co/JkPC0jYyAZ
RT @AETCommand: 😉 It's not really bragging if you bring home the 🏆 - is it? 📖 more at the link about how @Columbus_AFB's First Assignment…
RT @USAFHealth: Air Force Research Laboratory tests the new wireless high-noise filtering stethoscope. Learn more: https://t.co/bNj9LhB7d6…
RT @37thTRW: A #CV22 from @KIRTLAND377ABW arrived today to give hands on training to our #Airmen in this tiltrotor #aircraft ✈️ 🚁 🇺🇸 Our…