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United States Army Air Forces Aircrew
24 October 1943
 Missing World War II Airmen Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of four U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are

First Lieuenant Robert H. Miller, of Providence, Rhode Island
Second Lieutenant Robert L. Hale, of Newtonville, Massachusetts
Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Berube, of Fall River, Massachusetts
Staff Sergeant Glendon E. Harris, of North Monmouth, Maine

All served in the U.S. Army Air Forces. Miller, Hale and Berube were buried last month and Harris' burial is being set by his family.

On Oct. 24, 1943, a B-25D-1 Mitchell bomber crewed by these airmen departed Oro Bay Airfield in New Guinea on a bombing run of enemy targets in Rabaul. As the aircraft neared its target, it was attacked by Japanese fighter aircraft. Crewmen from other aircraft said they saw the B-25 crash near a plantation at Kabanga Point. There were no survivors.

In 1946 and 1947, Australian War Graves search teams recovered some of the crew's remains from the crash site. Identifications were not possible at the time and the remains were ultimately buried at the Manila American Military Cemetery in the Philippines.

From 1999-2000, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led a joint U.S. and Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) investigation and excavation of a WWII-era crash site in East New Britain Province. One joint team interviewed individuals having information on the crash, including an eyewitness who said he saw the B-25 crash near his village. Another individual found and buried human remains at the crash site in the mid 1990s. The team surveyed the site and found aircraft wreckage, human remains and personal effects. A second joint team excavated the site and recovered additional human remains and crew-related artifacts from the wreckage field.

In 2004, an anthropologist from JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) exhumed the graves at the Manila American Military Cemetery where he recovered the remains buried there in the 1940s.

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.
 
 

Robert H. Miller
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-659996
8th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Rhode Island
Died: 24-Oct-43
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines 
Awards: Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Purple Heart.
His remains were recovered.

Rhode Island State Flag     Silver Star Medal     Distinguished Flying Cross 2 awards     Air Medal     Purple Heart Medal
 

Robert L. Hale
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-795731
8th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Massachusetts
Died: 24-Oct-43
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart.
His remains were recovered.

Massachusetts State Flag     Air Medal     Purple Heart Medal
 

Joseph A. Berube
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 11024162
8th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Massachusetts
Died: 24-Oct-43
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart.
His remains were recovered.

Massachusetts State Flag     Distinguished Flying Cross 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal
 

Glendon Harris
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 11013668
8th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Maine
Died: 24-Oct-43
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

Maine State Flag     Air Medal     Purple Heart Medal

The remains of a North Monmouth man shot down in World War II have come home.

Sixty-three years after Army Air Forces Staff Sergeant Glendon E. Harris was shot down over New Guinea in World War II, the military has identified his remains. For decades, the remains lay at the site until uncovered in 1999. Now they have been returned to his family.

One nephew and two nieces represented the Harris family last week, when military officials honored the living and dead with a patriotic, spare-no-expense ceremony, culminating with a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

"It was very touching," said Larry Roberts, 68, of Winthrop, who flew to Washington with his wife, Carol. "The Army went all out for us."

He had last seen his uncle when the senior Harris came home for a weekend. Larry was then 3 and can't remember the visit.

The Army used DNA from his mother, Eleanor Harris Roberts, and her brother Emory Harris, to positively identify the remains of their brother. That was several years ago, and neither of them lived to hear the results of the DNA match.

Still, Larry Roberts said he is grateful for the attention. He said a coffin carrying remains of Harris and three other men who were in the same B-25 bomber was taken by horse-drawn caisson to the national graveyard, accompanied by a 30-piece band, 30-soldier honor guard and a 21-gun salute. Two powerful jets flew overhead, for a few minutes closing busy Ronald Reagan International Airport.

The entire ceremony was "very moving, very emotional," said Carol Roberts.

Two of Larry Roberts cousins, Marie Fisher of East Winthrop and husband Dick Merrill, and Charlotte Powell and husband Mike of Connecticut, attended the ceremony. So did family members of the other three men recently identified.

Roberts, a surveyor and engineer, served nine years in the Air National Guard in Bangor. He said his family didn't talk much about Glendon Harris. After his mother died, he found a box with official letters notifying the family of Glendon Harris' death.

Glendon Harris died Oct. 24, 1943. He was a tail gunner on a B-25 bomber that was attacked by Japanese fighter planes over New Guinea and crashed. There were no survivors.

On May 19, the Roberts Funeral Home in Winthrop will hold visiting hours for Glendon Harris from 1-2 p.m., and a service at 2 p.m. The funeral home was operated by Larry Roberts' late father, Douglass, and late uncle, Carlton. Burial will follow at Glenside Cemetery, and Gov. John Baldacci and Maine Army National Guard Adj. Gen. John Libby, state commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, are expected to attend.

Posted:  19 April 2007 Updated: 29 April 2007
Purple Heart Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

US Army Air Forces Air Crew Gravesite PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of Holly: April 2007