WWII pilot who was unknown soldier is identified, brought home

JM McBride

A World War II pilot who was originally buried overseas as an unknown soldier has been identified by The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John F. Minogue, 24, of Richfield, California.

According to a press release on March 16, 2023, by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Minogue was killed during World War II.

Pilots.Photo byMuseums VictoriaonUnsplash

In the summer of 1943, Minogue “was assigned to the 328th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force. On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 Liberator bomber on which Minogue was the co-pilot was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed during Operation TIDAL WAVE, the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania,” the release says.

“His remains were not identified following the war. The remains that could not be identified were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.”

Following the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) “disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. The AGRC was unable to identify more than 80 unknowns from Bolovan Cemetery, and those remains were permanently interred at Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, both in Belgium,” the release says.

In 2017, DPAA “began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation TIDAL WAVE losses. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification,” the release says.

DNA, dental and anthropological evidence were used to identify the pilot.

“Minogue’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for,” the release says.

“Minogue will be buried in Fullerton, California on April 20, 2023.”

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