Tampa, FL

Missing WWII Airman from Florida identified after 79 years

JM McBride

U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Edgar L. Mills, 25, of Tampa, Florida, who was killed during World War II, has been identified at last, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on March 27, 2023.

In the summer of 1944, Mills “was assigned to the 816th Bomber Squadron (Heavy), 483rd Bomber Group (Heavy), 15th Air Force.,” the news release said.

On July 18, Mills an armorer gunner, “onboard a B-17G was killed in action when the bomber was shot down during a bombing raid on enemy aircraft and air defense installations around Memmingen, Germany. His body was not recovered, and the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war. The War Department issued a finding of death on July 26, 1951,” the release said.

“Due to the damage to the B-17G the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. Six of the airmen parachuted successfully while the other five crew members including Mills were believed to still be on board. The surviving crew witnessed the aircraft explode in an area south of Memmingen, Germany,” the release said.

WWIIPhoto byJessica TanonUnsplash

Mills was initially declared unrecoverable, but, in 2012, three German witnesses “led what is now known as DPAA to an aircraft crash site near Kimratshofen, Germany. Which resulted in subsequent investigation and recovery efforts in 2013, with a 2018 recovery mission finding possible human remains and material evidence.”

In 2019, a DPAA partner team from the University of New Orleans” continued work at the Kimratshofen site, recovering additional material, which was also transferred to the DPAA laboratory in Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska,” the release said.

Mills’ remains were identified with dental evidence and DNA.

“Mills’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Epinal American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Epinal, France, 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.

“Mills' will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on a date yet to be determined.”

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