World War II Airman’s Remains Identified

Defense Department forensic scientists identified the remains of SSgt. James M. McKain, 25, of Philadelphia, a World War II airman missing in action since 1944, announced Pentagon officials. DOD returned McKain’s remains to his family, and he was interred on June 20 with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, according to DOD’s release and the cemetery’s website. On May 7, 1944, McKain was one of 10 airmen aboard a B-24D Liberator that departed Nadzab, New Guinea, on a bombing mission and went missing, states DOD’s release. Recovery efforts began in 1973 with the discovery of a crash site and human remains in mountainous terrain near Lae, New Guinea. Technology at the time prevented the identification of the individual crew members, so the crew was buried as a group at Arlington in 1974. In April 2008, a US team recovered wreckage and additional human remains at the crash site. DOD forensic scientists used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA to help identify McKain’s remains. In March, the Pentagon announced that it had identified the remains of 1st Lt. John E. Terpning, one of McKain’s crewmates.