Investigators from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) returned to India this week to continue the search for remains of U.S. personnel missing since World War II. Last year, DPAA deployed a team to northeast India for 30 days in search of remains for unaccounted-for U.S. airmen, and this is their fifth mission to India since 2013.
There are approximately 400 U.S. airmen missing in India, most of whose remains are believed to be located in the Himalayan Mountains in northeast India. During World War II, the United States provided supplies to the Chinese Army by flying over the Himalayas, a route known as “The Hump.” Many of these aircraft went missing and were never found in the mountainous terrain.
During DPAA’s missions in 2015 and 2016, remains were recovered and are in the process of being identified through DNA testing. One set of remains from the 2015 recovery mission was positively identified as U.S. Army Air Force's 1st Lt. Robert E. Oxford. In 2016, a local villager turned over additional remains thought to be associated with another U.S. crash site.
This year, the team will conduct a similar mission in northeast India, surveying several different sites from those visited during the 2016 investigation effort.
Mary Kay Carlson, the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi said, “The United States works with governments around the world to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation. This is the fifth DPAA mission to India since 2013, demonstrating successful cooperation between the governments of India and the United States. This positive relationship underscores the dedication each nation brings to this humanitarian mission.”
DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for U.S. missing personnel to their families and the nation.