Remains of Michigan airman killed in World War II identified 79 years later
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An airman from Michigan who was killed in 1943 during World War II has been accounted for by the U.S. government, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced in a news release on Wednesday.
Lieutenant Peter A. Timpo was 24 when he was assigned to the 343rd Bombardment Squadron in the summer of 1943. On Aug. 1, the bombardier was serving on a B-24 Liberator aircraft that was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire during “Operation Tidal Wave,” a large-scale mission by Allied forces to target oil refineries. He was killed and his remains were not identified.
According to Timpo’s personnel profile, there were five other soldiers who were involved in the crash. Two of them have been identified and three remain unaccounted for. The crew was aboard an aircraft nicknamed “Four Eyes” when it crashed — one of 51 planes that failed to return from a fleet of 177 aircraft.
Remains that could not be identified were buried as “Unknowns” in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery in Romania, the agency said. After the war, the American Graves Registration Command, an organization that searched for and recovered United States personnel, removed those remains, but more than 80 bodies could not be identified. Those remains were buried again at two cemeteries in Belgium.
In 2017, the DPAA began exhuming unidentified remains believed to be associated with “Operation Tidal Wave.” Those bodies were sent to the agency’s laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Scientists there used anthropological analysis and mitochondrial, chromosomal and autosomal DNA analysis. Timpo was offically accounted for on July 20, 2022.
Timpo’s name had been recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, a monument in Italy. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for, the agency said. His remains will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The agency works to identify unknown remains from wars that the United States was involved in. More than 81,500 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars, the agency says on its website. More than half of those are assumed to be lost at sea.