Missing Airman’s Remains Recovered

Defense Department forensic scientists identified the remains of TSgt. William S. Cassell of Mt. Airy, N.C., who had been missing since November 1946, announced Pentagon officials. DOD returned Cassell’s remains to his family; he was buried with full military honors in Amelia, Va., on Oct. 28. On Nov. 1, 1946, Cassell was one of eight crewmembers aboard a B-17G that took off from Naples, Italy, bound for Bovington, England. The bomber went down in the French-Italian Alps, near Estellette Glacier. In 1947, a French military unit found wreckage and recovered human remains from the site, according to DOD. Due to the technology limitations of the time, the Pentagon could not attribute the remains to individuals, so they were interred as a group representing the B-17G crew at Arlington National Cemetery. Between 1983 and 1999, additional remains and personal effects were recovered as the glacier descended. In 2010, due to advances in technology, DOD forensic scientists reevaluated the evidence and were able to identify Cassell. (See also Richmond Times-Dispatch report.)