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DPMO Identifies Missing WWII Airmen

Three Servicemen To Be Buried With Full Honors

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced Friday the remains of three US servicemen, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. 

They are 2nd Lt. John F. Lubben, of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Sgt. Albert A. Forgue, of North Providence, RI; and Sgt. Charles L. Spiegel, of Chicago, IL; all US Army Air Forces. They will be buried on April 18 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC.

Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men in their hometowns to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

On December 12, 1944, these men crewed an A-20J Havoc aircraft departing from Coullomiers, France, to bomb enemy targets near Wollseifen, Germany. The aircraft was last seen entering a steep dive near Cologne, Germany. Several searches and investigations of this area and reviews of wartime documents failed to provide information concerning the incident.

In 1975, a German company clearing wartime mines and unexploded ordnance near Simmerath, Germany, reported the discovery of a gravesite northeast of Simmerath where American servicemembers were buried. U.S. officials evaluated the remains and determined they represented three individuals, but they could not make identifications at that time. The remains were subsequently buried as unknowns in the Ardennes American Military Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium.

In 2003, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was notified that a group of German citizens had information correlating the three servicemembers who were buried as unknowns with the crew from the 1944 A-20J crash. Based on that information, JPAC exhumed the three unknown graves from the Ardennes American Military Cemetery in 2005.

Among dental records, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains. 

FMI: www.dtic.mil/dpmo/

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