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Over 400 US World War II servicemen estimated to be missing in India’s Northeast

The DPAA conducted field activities in Arunachal Pradesh from November 1-December 14, 2016, in search of US World War II unaccounted for personnel

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Indian Troops in Burma, Wikimedia

Kolkata, May 31, 2017: Over 400 US World War II servicemen are estimated to be missing in India’s northeast where recent field activities have yielded evidence possibly associated with unaccounted-for personnel, a US Defense Department official said here on Wednesday.

We estimate there are 425 servicemen still missing in northeast India, as per records from Second World War. We were flying missions from India, supporting our efforts in China and Myanmar and so there were crash sites that incurred accidents either because of weather or malfunctions or even enemy action and airplanes crashed and were lost, said Lt. Col Kevin Pritz of the Department of Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA), adding those missing were air servicemen.

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According to Pritz, there have been six identifications since 2013 and the remains have been returned to their families.

Participating in a talk and interactive session on The Anatomy of a Dig: Forensic Science and Anthropology, Pritz and forensic anthropologist Meghan-Tomasita Cosgriff from DPAA discussed how the various facets of forensic science and anthropology play a vital role in assisting the agency in recovering remains of missing US soldiers.

The DPAA conducted field activities in Arunachal Pradesh from November 1-December 14, 2016, in search of US World War II unaccounted for personnel.

The team recovered evidence that was subsequently examined by a Joint Forensic Review Committee comprising both DPAA and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) members.

On December 7, 2016, the committee determined that the evidence was possibly correlated to US WWII service members unaccounted for from that region, and recommended the remains and material evidenceAbe transported to a DPAA laboratory for further analysis.

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In June, 2017, DPAA personnel will escort the evidence from Kolkata to a laboratory in Honolulu for analysis.

This activity marked the seventh mission relating to U.S. unaccounted for personnel conducted in India.

Past missions include: three recovery missions during 2008 and 2009 in Arunachal Pradesh, one investigation in Tripura in 2013, one investigation in Assam and Nagaland in 2014, one recovery in Arunachal Pradesh in 2015, and one investigation in Arunachal Pradesh 2016.

The Indian government has extended its full support to all these humanitarian missions. (IANS)

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USS Missouri Undergoes Renovation ahead of World War II End Anniversary

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday that the battleship will undergo repairs to its aft superstructure that are expected to be completed in August

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USS Missouri, world war II
FILE - This Nov. 11, 2004, file photo shows The USS Missouri's main battery of three 16-inch/.05 caliber gun turrets in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. VOA

A section of the USS Missouri is being repaired as part of a $3 million restoration project to address rust and other deterioration on the Pearl Harbor memorial ahead of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The 887-foot (270-meter) Missouri was the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday that the battleship will undergo repairs to its aft superstructure that are expected to be completed in August.

Last year, a $3.5 million renovation was done on the tallest portion of the superstructure. Michael Carr, president and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, said rust is an ongoing issue for the historic ship.

USS Missouri, world war II
FILE – In this Sept. 2, 1945, file image provided by the U.S. Navy, F4U and F6F fighter planes fly in formation over the USS Missouri while the surrender ceremonies to end World War II take place aboard the U.S. Navy battleship in Tokyo Bay. VOA

About 12,000 square feet (1,100 square meters) of steel will be sandblasted and painted, and some 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms) of steel will be replaced. Five hundred gallons of paint will be used. “These parts of the ship have not been [sand] blasted and painted in 30 years since the ship was recommissioned in the 1980s, so it’s well past time to do it,” Carr said.

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A week of activities is being planned in September 2020 at the Missouri as well as the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum to honor the end of the war. Carr said almost all of the Missouri’s main deck will have new teak by the surrender anniversary on Sept. 2, 2020.

More than 2,000 sailors and Marines were aboard the ship for the ceremony that Gen. Douglas MacArthur said was intended to “conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored.” (VOA)