WWII Airman Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel
Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, from World
War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial
with full military honors
Army Air Force 1st Lt. Robert G. Fenstermacher,
23, of Scranton, Pa., will be buried on Oct. 18, in Arlington National Cemetery.
On Dec. 26, 1944, Fenstermacher was a pilot of a P-47D Thunderbolt that was on
an armed-reconnaissance mission against targets in Germany, when his aircraft
crashed, near Petergensfeld, Belgium.
A U.S. military officer reported
seeing Fenstermacher’s aircraft crash. Reaching the site shortly after impact,
he recovered Fenstermacher’s identification tags from the burning wreckage. No
remains or aircraft wreckage was recovered from the crash site at that time and
Fenstermacher was declared killed in action.
Following the war, the U.S.
Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) investigated and interviewed a local
Belgian woman who told team that an aircraft crashed into the side of her house.
The team searched the surrounding area, but was unsuccessful locating the crash
In 2012, a group of local historians excavated a private yard in
Petergensfeld, Belgium, recovering human remains and aircraft wreckage
consistent with a P-47D. The remains were turned over to the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC).
To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC
used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental
comparisons, which matched Fenstermacher’s records.
There are more than
400,000 American service members killed during WWII, and the remains of more
than 73,000 were never recovered or identified.
information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703)