World War II Servicemen's
Remains Buried At Arlington
Seven MIA Navy Aircrew Based
On Attu Island, Alaska
November 21, 2003
Friday - 1:00 am
The remains of seven American servicemen missing in action from
World War II have been found in Russia, identified and returned
to their families for burial with full military honors.
A group burial of the remains was held at Arlington National
Cemetery on Thursday, November 20th.
The seven Navy aircrew members are identified as Lt. Walter S.
Whitman Jr. of Philadelphia, Pa.; Lt. j.g. John W. Hanlon Jr.
of Worcester, Mass.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Clarence C. Fridley
of Manhattan, Mont.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Donald G. Lewallen
of Omaha, Neb.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Jack J. Parlier of Decatur
Ill.; Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel L. Crown Jr. of Columbus,
Ohio and Petty Officer 3rd Class James S. Palko of Superior,
According to information released
by the Department of Defense, on March 25, 1944, Whitman and
his crew took off in their PV-1 Ventura bomber from their base
on Attu Island, Alaska, headed for enemy targets in the Kurile
Islands of Japan. The aircraft was part of a five-plane
flight which encountered heavy weather throughout the entire
mission. About six hours into the mission, the base at
Attu notified Whitman by radio of his bearing. There was
no further contact with the crew. When Whitman's aircraft
failed to return, an over water search was initiated by surface
ships and aircraft in an area extending 200 miles from Attu,
but no wreckage was found.
In January 2000, representatives
of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs received a report
from a Russian citizen who had discovered wreckage in 1962 of
a U.S. aircraft on the Kamchatka peninsula on the east coast
of Russia. Later that year, specialists from the Central
Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI), along with members
of the commission, found the wreckage and some human remains.
The following year, the team returned to the crash site to conduct
an excavation. They recovered additional remains, artifacts
and aircrew-related items which correlated to the names on the
manifest of the PV-1.
Between 2001-2003, CILHI scientists employed a wide range of
forensic identification techniques, including that of mitochondrial
DNA, to confirm the identity of crewmembers.
The Departmen of Defense reports
that more than 78,000 servicemen are missing in action from World
Source of News Release:
Department of Defense
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