? Defense Department forensic scientists identified the remains of Army Air Forces SSgt. Gerald V. Atkinson, 21, of Ramer, Ala., who had been missing in action since World War II. The Pentagon is returning the remains to Atkinson’s family for burial with full military honors on Aug. 16 in Chattahoochee, Fla., according to DOD’s release. Atkinson was one of nine crew members of a B-17G bomber lost during a bombing mission on April 10, 1945, near Gross Schonebeck, Germany, states the release. German nationals recovered crew member remains shortly after the war, but forensic science at the time did not allow for the identification of the individual airmen. In 2012, DOD forensic scientists concluded that advances in technology would make identification of the remains, which lay since 1951 in a US military cemetery in France, now possible. They used circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Atkinson’s cousin, to identify the airman.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.