Two Airmen Identified, Returned Home


FORT GEORGE G. MEADE Md.  -- The remains of two servicemen, missing from World War II and the Vietnam War, have recently been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors, Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office officials announced June 29.

Identified were Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Warren G. Moxley, 23, of Charleston, Mo., a pilot missing since World War II; and 1st Lt. Robert E. Bennett III, 25, of Springfield, N.J., who was an aviator in Vietnam.

Moxley was flying an F-6C Mustang over Asbach, Germany, when he crashed due to unidentified circumstances on March 15, 1945. Another American pilot flying in the same mission witnessed the crash and did not see a parachute deploy. Army Graves Registration Service officials were not able to locate the crash site following the war.

In 1993, a German citizen led U.S. government officials to a crash site near Asbach. Years later,  in 2006, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command investigation team gathered additional evidence and concluded that Moxley's aircraft was the only U.S. aircraft to crash in the area.

Bennett, the other Airmen who was recently identified,  and another officer were flying a F-4C Phantom II and crashed during a close-air support mission in the Tra Vinh Binh Province, South Vietnam. Both men ejected and were seen landing in the Co Chien River. The other officer was rescued immediately by a nearby Navy patrol boat. Before he could be reached, Bennett sank into the water and presumably drowned.

In 2010, a Vietnamese citizen reported to authorities that he discovered human remains and military equipment while dredging sand from the Tien River. The remains, found approximately 2,000 meters from Bennett's last-known location, were turned over to the JPAC.

Along with circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab used forensic identification tools and mitochondrial DNA to identify the Airmen's remains. Moxley was identified by a successful match with his brother's DNA, while Bennett could be identified by matching him to a hair sample in his military record.

Moxley will be buried in his hometown July 3,  and Bennett will be laid to rest in Montrose, Colo., July 7.

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