The long wait is over following the identification of the mortal remains of two US airmen, whose plane carrying four American soldiers from Jorhat in Assam to China’s Hsin-Ching crashed in a remote area in Arunachal Pradesh during World War II.
A report published on Saturday by TOIstated that the US Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA), which recovered the remains from the crash site in Bhismanagar village of Arunachal in 2016, confirmed on Wednesday that those were that of 1st Lt Allen R Turner and flight engineer Joseph I Natvick.
The DPAA in its website www.dpaa.mil mentioned that “on July 17, 1945, Turner, a member of the 1330 Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command, was the pilot of a C-109 aircraft, en route from Jorhat, India, to Hsinching, China, over ‘The Hump’, when the aircraft crashed in a remote area. All four passengers were declared deceased after an extensive search effort failed to identify the crash site.”
It also stated that one set of remains was identified on February 9, 2016 as the co-pilot, 1st Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst, 24, of Yonkers, New York. Langhorst was buried on November 26, 2016 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Another set of remains was identified on September 24, 2018 as Army Air Forces Pfc. Joseph I. Natvik.
The DPAA expressed its gratefulness to Clayton Kuhles and the Government of India for their partnership in this mission.
The report quoted Gary Zaetz, founder and chairman of Families and Supporters of America’s Arunachal Missing in Action, as saying, “Restrictions by Indian authorities have allowed the US government to recover only three out of possibly 400 missing airmen in Arunachal. It’s a violation of international law by only permitting one survey operation or one recovery operation in the entire territory of India. So far in 2018, no recovery or survey operations have been permitted yet.”
The report also stated that besides the DPAA, remains of four other US airmen were recovered earlier as a result of private efforts by one Clayton Kuhles, an independent investigator from the US. The crash site was reportedly discovered by Clayton in 2007.