Saturday, April 26, 2008

Once Was Lost But Now Am Found

It is never too late to find closure as the families of eleven American airmen are finding out.

The B-24D-60-CO Liberator 'The Swan' assigned to the 63rd Bomber SQ, 43rd Bombardment GP, 5th AF vanished on the night of 3 December, 1943 after completing its mission over New Hanover Island in the Bismark Sea. Pilot of the mission was Capt. Robert Coleman.

Then in 2000, the dogtag for Robert E. Frank, gunner assigned to 'The Swan,' was handed over to a wreck searcher in New Guinea. In 2004 efforts were made to recover any possible human remains plus other evidence. Seven bodies and personal effects were recovered.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command[JPAC] then started to try and identify all the remains there were brought back. Using mitochondrial DNA testing and samples donated by crew members' families, JPAC and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory were able to identify the remains of five of the crew: Morgan, Cassidy, Frank, Fraser, and Thompson. Tech SGT Morgan has already been buried by his family in Holly, MI. The other funeral plans are still being set. There is also being planned in June or July a burial at Arlington National Cemetery of six caskets for the crew. Five for the identified crew members and a sixth that will hold the remains that could not be positively identified. The sixth casket will have the names of all eleven crew members on it.

Crew of the B-24D Liberator 'The Swan' are as follows:
Captain Robert Coleman : pilot
2nd Lt Kenneth Cassidy : co-pilot
2nd Lt Irving Schechner : bombardier
1st Lt George Wallinder : navigator
T/SGT Paul Miecias : flight engineer
S/SGT Albert Caruso : gunner
T/SGT William Fraser : gunner
S/SGT Robert Frank : gunner
T/SGT Robert Morgan : gunner
Pvt Joseph Thompson : gunner
2nd Lt Roland Ward : observer

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