Remains of WWII Airman Found in Germany

The remains of a Missouri airman killed during World War II have been identified and returned to his family for burial, U.S. military officials say.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John E. Hogan, of West Plains, Mo., was one of eight men who died when their B-17G Flying Fortress crashed near Neustadt-on-Werra, Germany, on Sept. 13, 1944, the Department of Defense reported Wednesday. A ninth crew member parachuted to the ground.

German soldiers buried the men at a cemetery in Neustadt.

U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel were able to recover the remains of one man after the war, but the subsequent partition of East Germany by the Soviet Union blocked the recovery of any more service members, the Pentagon said.

A man digging a grave in the cemetery in 1991 discovered metal U.S. identification tags and notified officials. U.S. officials gained access to the location in 2008 and recovered human remains and additional ID tags from three other crew members.

Officials were able to identify Hogan through a cousin's mitochondrial DNA.

The remains of some 73,000 U.S. soldiers who died in World War II are still missing, the department said.

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