The Pentagon has identified the remains of 1st Lt. James W. Blose, of Sharpsville, Pa., whose P-39D Airacobra disappeared April 22, 1942 after encountering bad weather soon after takeoff from Fiji on an airborne alert mission. He and fellow pilot 2nd Lt. William S. Shaw had to fly below the level of several mountaintops; Shaw successfully landed at another airfield, but Blose was never seen again. Ground searches of the surrounding jungles found nothing. In 2005, Joint POW/MIA Command personnel investigated wreckage spotted in 2004 and returned in 2006 to excavate, recovering human remains and some items that bore Blose’s initials.
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.