Remains of World War II Airman Identified

The Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 it had identified the remains of Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Alvin Beethe, a P-38 pilot assigned to the 393rd Fighter Squadron during World War II. Beethe, whose went out on a bombing mission near Duren, Germany, on Nov. 26, 1944, and never returned, will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on June 8. A fellow pilot reported that Beethe’s aircraft crashed near the town of Morschenich, but attempts to recover the remains were unsuccessful until private German citizens notified the Defense Department of the crash site in 2008. In June 2013, another DOD team excavated the site and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage, according to a May 22 release. Forensic scientists used tools such as matching mitochondrial and Y-chromosome short tandem repeat DNA with family members, to identify the remains. Of the 16 million Americans to serve in the second World War, more than 73,000 are still unaccounted for, according to the release.