Republic P-47D Thunderbolt.

Remains of WWII P-47D Pilot Edward F. Barker Found

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on June 23, 2015 that a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, has been identified and is being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Edward F. Barker, 21, of Herkimer, N.Y., will be buried Aug. 1, in his hometown. On Sept. 30, 1944, Barker was the pilot of an P-47D Thunderbolt that failed to return from a training mission in Papua New Guinea. The aircraft was last seen flying north-northwest of Finschhafen, and all search efforts failed to locate Barker and the aircraft. Barker was reported as missing when he failed to return after the mission. A military review board later amended his status to presumed dead.

In 1962, a U.S. military team discovered P-47D aircraft wreckage in the mountains of the Huan Peninsula in Morobe Province. The aircraft was correlated to Barker; however, the team found no evidence of the pilot.

From Jan. 22-25, 2002, a Department of Defense (DoD) team located the crash site, but no remains of the pilot were discovered during the survey of the site.

In late 2012, another DoD team began excavating the site. The team recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, military gear and personal effects.

To identify Barker’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his niece and nephew.

6 thoughts on “Remains of WWII P-47D Pilot Edward F. Barker Found”

  1. Welcome Home ! Lets find the rest of our Vets and bring them all home no matter how long it takes ….they deserve it !!

  2. Welcome home soldier. On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are home now and can rest.

  3. DNA as a means of identification was not an option 53 years ago-and a plane flying into a mountain at full speed can burrow in pretty deep.

    1. jeeper44…You’re defending the indefensible. The DoD failed to find his remains the first time around, didn’t get around to going back to the crash site until 40 years later (when they finally realized that they had screwed up the first time), and then went back six years after that (after realizing they had screwed up a second time). Finally, on their third try, they found his remains, long after his closest living relatives had died. Pathetic, and insulting to Lt. Barker’s family.

  4. So…let me get this straight. 2nd Lt. Barker’s crash site was located 53 years ago, but the Defense Department couldn’t identify his remains until 2015 ! What a horrid example of Defense Department negligence, apathy, and incompetence. Gary Zaetz, nephew of World War II MIA 1st Lt. Irwin Zaetz.

    1. Jonathan Stone

      They immediately correlated the plane to Barker, but without recovering remains. They were not recovered until 2012 and it takes time to find next of kin, get a swab to corroborate DNA and affirm the missing airman as found. You are choosing to be outraged, when in fact you ought to appreciate the enormous amount of care, concern and effort that is put into identifying and returning all missing serviceman. Stand down and show a little more respect.

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