Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For (Keown, R.)

December 13, 2017

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Robert R. Keown, killed during World War II, has now been accounted for.

On April 16, 1944, Keown was the pilot of one of four P-38s of the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, participating in a mission to escort a B-25 medium bomber on an aerial search near the mouth of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. Keown’s aircraft, alongside the other three aircraft on the escort mission, encountered heavy overcast conditions after charting their course home. After rerouting, they experienced heavy rain and turned toward the open ocean. Keown and his wingman became separated from the other aircraft. His last known location was listed as more than a mile north of Yalu Point. None of the four aircraft returned from the mission. 

In 1999, the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery turned over remains to the Central Identification Laboratory after receiving information from Mr. Soka Dodon and Mr. John Bonding.

DPAA is grateful to Mr. Soka Dodon, Mr. John Bonding, the Papua New Guinea Government and Pacific Wrecks, Inc., for their partnerships in this recovery.

Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.

Keown’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site, along with the others who are missing from the World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

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