The Defense Department has identified the remains of two airmen missing in action from the Korean War—Col. Douglas H. Hatfield of Shenandoah, Va., and Capt. Richard H. Simpson of Fairhaven, Mich. On April 12, 1951, Hatfield and Simpson were two of 11 crewmembers on a B-29 flying from Kadena AB, Okinawa, on a mission over North Korea. The bomber crashed following a strike by MiG-15s and only three crewmembers managed to bail out. One died in captivity and two were repatriated. In 1993, North Korea turned over 31 boxes of remains of US servicemen; four sets of remains from this group were identified as members of the B-29 crew. In 2000, a joint excavation recovered additional remains, including those subsequently identified as belonging to Hatfield and Simpson.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.