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Two missing World War II airmen identified

Two World War II airmen are finally headed home.

The Defense Department’s POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that two U.S. service members missing in action in WWII have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors, according to a Defense Department release.

Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard of Monterey, Calif., and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari of Frankfort, N.Y., will be buried as a group in a single casket on Sept. 19 at Arlington National Cemetery. The individually-identified remains of Licari were buried on Aug. 6 in Frankfort, N.Y.

Pollard and Licari were crew members of an A-20G Havoc bomber that failed to return to base in what is now Papua New Guinea. On March 13, 1944, the aircraft crashed after attacking enemy targets on the island.

The New Guinea campaign was a major military campaign between 1942 and 1945.

Approximately 7,000 American soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen were killed in the New Guinea campaign, according to “Medical Statistics in World War II” by Frank A. Reister.

This figure includes the 2,102 US Marines killed during the landings at Cape Gloucester on New Britain and the fighting on Bougainville.

The remains of Licari and Pollard were recovered when the A-20G crash site in the mountains of Papua New Guinea was excavated in 2012.

There are more than 400,000 American service members that were killed during WWII, and the remains of more than 73,000 were never recovered or identified.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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