Defense Department forensic scientists identified the remains of Sgt. Jerome E. Kiger, 22, of Mannington, W.V., an airman missing in action since World War II, announced the Pentagon. Kiger’s remains were laid to rest with full military honors on July 21 at the Mannington Memorial Park in Mannington. Kiger was one of nine crewmembers of a B-24 Liberator that enemy fire brought down southwest of Munich on July 21, 1944, while on a bombing raid to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, according to the release. Of the crew, six airmen parachuted to safety and a seventh airman’s remains were recovered near Hadorf, Germany. Kiger and another crewman remained missing in action. In 2009, DOD received human remains and aircraft wreckage from a German national from the crash site. Three years later, a team of DOD investigators recovered additional human remains and wreckage from the site. The forensic scientists used circumstantial evidence, dental comparisons, and mitochondrial DNA to help identify Kiger’s remains. In June, the Pentagon announced that it had identified the remains of Kiger’s missing crewmate, Sgt. Charles R. Marshall. (See also The Exponent Telegram report and Hutson Funeral Home obituary.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.