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Question about the WWII pilot who was found

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Question about the WWII pilot who was found

Postby ERIC » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:00 pm

Ok, so which one of you found him? :cool:


Honestly, it was the first thing I thought of when I saw it on the tube!
Anyway, it was a very touching story and I'm glad his sisters will finally get to say good-bye.

ERIC



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Postby Windwalker » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:36 pm

Skibum was one of the NPS Rangers over there recovering the body.
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Postby ERIC » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:38 pm

I somehow knew he was involved in that aspect. Thanks for the info.

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Postby ERIC » Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:16 am

More bodies could be frozen in Sierra Nevada glacier

Associated Press


FRESNO, Calif. - Authorities are considering the possibility that more bodies could be frozen in the same Sierra Nevada glacier where climbers found the remains of a World War II airman.

A 63-year-old report on one of several military plane crashes in the same remote mountain region suggests that the airman found last weekend was part of a four-member crew that took off from Mather Field in Sacramento on Nov. 18, 1942. Until now, none of the members of that training flight were ever found.

"The bottom line is that there could be three more of them out there," Mike Stowe, a contractor who locates archived military reports, told the Fresno Bee. "The report says they didn't recover any bodies from that wreck."

Forensic experts were examining the body still encased in ice and have said they believed there was a good chance they would be able to identify the man. The body was found last weekend in a remote part of Kings Canyon National Park close to the summit of 13,710-foot Mount Mendel.

Officials said a number of military planes crashed in the area during the 1930s and 1940s. Troy Kitch, spokesman for the Joint Prisoner of War Accounting Command, which recovers and identifies military personnel, said they were evaluating the 1942 report.

The report offered few details about the crash of a plane that took off from Mather Field in Sacramento with a destination of Corning in Tehama County. There was no explanation of how the plane got more than 200 miles off course.


http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/12972237.htm
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Postby Skibum » Tue Nov 01, 2005 12:20 pm

What would you like to know Eric?
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Postby ERIC » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:01 pm

Hey Skibum,

1) are you guys still looking in the area for other airmen?
2) have they positively identified the airman you found yet?

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Investigators closing in on identity of frozen WWII airman

Postby ERIC » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:36 pm

Investigators closing in on identity of frozen WWII airman
Clues emerging in six-decade-old cold case

From Thelma Gutierrez
Tuesday, November 1, 2005; Posted: 4:28 p.m. EST (21:28 GMT)

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/01/frozen.airman.investigation/

(CNN) -- A decaying address book. A black plastic comb. A dirty penny.

These are some of the last things a young World War II airman put in his pockets on the day he died six decades ago. And they are a few of the many clues beginning to emerge in the search for his identity.

The investigation began in earnest two weeks ago, when climbers found a frozen body in a U.S. military uniform at the bottom of a glacier in the Sierra Nevada.

Forensic scientists exhumed the body from its icy tomb and transported it to Honolulu, Hawaii, where the body is being studied at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the largest forensic crime lab in the world.

So far, investigators have narrowed the body's identity to one of 10 World War II soldiers, out of the thousands who are missing or unidentified.

Forensic scientists at the lab believe the airman was Caucasian, had fair hair and was probably in his early 20s when he died, judging by his teeth.

"These root tips are closed, which is indicative of someone at least 21 years old," said Dr. Andy Henry, a forensic dentist.

From looking at the airman's bones, scientists think he most likely died when his plane crashed six decades ago, not by freezing to death in the mountains.

"The injuries are so substantial, he didn't feel anything. He died immediately," said Dr. Robert Mann, a forensic anthropologist.

Investigators are trying to move beyond these general observations to pinpoint the airman's precise identity. Here are some of the clues they used to narrow their search from thousands of missing soldiers to just 10, and are continuing to employ to find his identity:

• He was wearing a World War II Army Air Force uniform.

• A corroded nameplate, collar pin and Army Air Corps insignia were found on his uniform.

• Remnants of his sweater, undergarments and socks are intact.

• He had a broken plastic black comb.

• Dimes from 1936 to 1942 were found in his pocket.

Some potentially vital clues, such as three small leather-bound address books, haven't yielded as much information as investigators had hoped.

The pages of the books, which may once have contained the names, addresses and phone numbers of friends and family, were too decomposed to reveal their original content.

Scientists are convinced that with the help of DNA testing they will be able to identify the airman in the weeks and months ahead.

In Pleasant Grove, Ohio, three sisters, all in their 80s, hope the frozen airman is their big brother, Glenn Munn, whose plane went missing in the Sierra Nevada in 1942.

"I just wanted a final confirmation to know he was found and have him brought home here for burial," says Sara Zeyer, Munn's sister. "We don't know that though. We don't, but that's my wish."
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Postby Skibum » Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:24 am

Greetings Eric,

1. The JPAC lab in Honolulu has a pretty good idea who the airman is, But, in cases like this they have to be absolutely positive of the ID before they can make an announcement. Unfortunately, they could not find dog tags. Unless they are able to recover something rock solid, they will most likely depend on DNA for a positive ID.

2. There is a possibility that more human remains, plus remains of the aircraft, are still entombed within the glacier. It has already snowed a few times on Mendel Glacier since the recovery, so any further searching probably won't happen until next season. I do not imagine the NPS will be digging up the glacier in any subsequent searches, but letting things become exposed naturally as the glacier melts/retreats.

It was a very interesting mission for sure. So much that guy missed out on. Everything from microwave ovens, television to the whole space enchilada.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:37 pm

Skibum,

Great job! I saw you on CNN, that was so cool! :nod:

Hope they find out who he is for the family. He was so young!
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Airman Unlikely To Be Munn

Postby ERIC » Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:52 am

Thanks for the info, Skibum. I found another article that updates their progress in identifying the airman.

ERIC


Airman Unlikely To Be Munn

By JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH
http://theintelligencer.net/news/story/115202005_new2airman.asp

Unofficial sources have told members of a local family the body of a man found frozen in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is not their relative, but a spokeswoman for the agency trying to identify the body said none of the four possibilities being considered have been excluded.
Jean Pyle, 85, of Pleasant Grove said her nephew, Scott Shriver, received unofficial information this week indicating that the body was not that of her brother, U.S. Army Air Force aviation Cadet Ernest "Glenn" Munn. However, she said she and her sisters are not giving up hope that it is him.

"I'm kind of sad, but I haven't given up yet," Pyle said.

Pyle said her nephew was told this week that a tag on clothing that was preserved along with the body did not have Munn's name on it, but she stressed none of the family members have received any official word on the matter.

Shriver termed the information he obtained "quite unofficial" but said, "I do think it is accurate." Shriver said he talked to U.S. Army Maj. Rumi Nielson-Green of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, who suggested he call a civilian liaison for the agency. When the liaison returned Shriver's calls, he told Shriver, "We don't think the airman is your uncle."

Shriver noted the man told him this was based not on anthropological evidence, but rather on "solid circumstantial evidence."

Regarding his personal feelings on the matter, Shriver said, "I'm a Christian. As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to meet him in heaven.

"He's been gone 63 years," Shriver continued, regarding his uncle. "It's not the end of the world. We're going to move on with our lives and be happy for the other family" who discovers the airman in question is their relative.

When contacted late Friday, Nielson-Green said JPAC hasn't issued any official word on whether the body "is or isn't anyone." She said investigators are confident the remains are those of one of four individuals aboard an AT-7 navigational training plane that disappeared in November 1942. "We have not excluded anyone," she said.

Nielson-Green said circumstantial evidence has been obtained using an alternate light source to make out some letters on a garment found on the body. She emphasized, though, that the analysis of evidence continues and it will likely be several weeks before any official findings are issued.

Munn disappeared along with the rest of his flight crew over the Sierra Nevada in 1942. A pilot and three crew members died when their plane crashed into the icy peak, and their names were etched on a military gravestone even though most of their actual remains were not recovered.

Munn attended St. Clairsville High School for two years before transferring to Martins Ferry High School, graduating in 1936. He was the oldest child in the family. Following graduation, he went to work with an aunt at Fidelity Investment Association on Main Street in Wheeling. He never married.

In 1947, an engine from the plane, clothing, a dog tag and scattered human remains were discovered far off the plane's course and the crew members were given a ceremonial burial.
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Postby Skibum » Sat Nov 05, 2005 1:33 pm

Thanks Eric,

I had not seen this article yet. Shoot, we all thought for sure that it was Munn. I guess it still might be.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:23 am

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/02/03/airman ... topstories


Frozen WWII airman identified
Climbers found body in glacier, near where training craft crashed

From Thelma Gutierrez and Dree De Clamecy
CNN
Saturday, February 4, 2006; Posted: 9:53 p.m. EST (02:53 GMT)


ORANGE PARK, Florida (CNN) -- The U.S. military has identified the body of a World War II airman that climbers found in October at the bottom of a glacier in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Family members said they learned this week that the man was 22-year-old Army Air Corps cadet Leo Mustonen, who died in a 1942 plane crash.

Mustonen joined the Army during his senior year in high school in Brainerd, Minnesota, and was in training to become a navigator when he was reported missing on November 18, 1942.

Mustonen was son of Finnish immigrants. He was one of four cadets aboard a training flight that crashed in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Fresno.

The National Park Service has said it is considering whether to launch a new search in the spring for the remains of the other three men, pilot Lt. Bill Gamber, and navigator trainees Glenn Munn and Melvin Mortensen.

A Defense Department official called the Mustonen family on Wednesday and confirmed that the identity of the body found in October, relatives said. (Watch: A family learns the identity of the airman -- 4:21)

"I felt in my heart all along that it was him," said Mustonen's niece Leane Mustonen Ross. "I've even made funeral arrangements and everything."

The family plans to have Mustonen's remains interred along with his parents in Brainerd, about 130 miles north of Minneapolis, she said.

"It's filling a pain and bringing it all together," another of Mustonen's nieces, Ona Lea Mustonen. "To know how someone died and what happened to them stops the question mark."

Some wreckage from the aircraft was found in 1947, but no bodies were discovered until October, when climbers spotted Mustonen's frozen remains in a mountainous area of Kings Canyon National Park. (Full story)

Mustonen was wearing a WWII-era Army Air Corps uniform when forensic scientists removed his body from its icy tomb and took it to the largest forensic lab in the world, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Investigators said then that they had narrowed the search for the body's identity to 10 World War II soldiers among thousands who are missing or unidentified.

Using hair and teeth, scientists determined that the man was at least 21 years old, and the bones indicated that he died when his plane crashed into the mountains six decades ago, forensic experts said.

"The injuries are so substantial, he didn't feel anything. He died immediately," said Dr. Robert Mann, a forensic anthropologist.

Scientists also found a corroded nameplate, clothing remnants, a broken plastic comb, dimes dating between 1936 and 1942, an Army Air Corps insignia on his uniform and three small leather-bound address books.

The pages of the address books were too decomposed to glean any useful information.

More than two dozen planes crashed in the Sierras during World War II.

Scientists said in November they were hopeful that DNA testing would help identify the airman. Forensic scientists collected DNA samples from family members of the men who were on the plane and, through the process of elimination, identified the remains as those of Mustonen.

Marjorie Freeman, a family friend, said Mustonen dreamed of becoming an engineer when he enlisted.

"Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Mustonen were so proud of that, and they were so happy he was really going to make something of himself," Freeman said.

She said Mustonen's mother, Anna, died in 1969 without ever coming to terms with her son's disappearance.

"I can see her so plainly, sitting across my mother-in-law's kitchen table -- my mother-in-law on one end and Mrs. Mustonen on the other -- having coffee, and tears running down her face."

Ross said the family -- which has traced relatives back to 1632 -- now feels "absolute elation and joy" about being able to write the last chapter in their uncle's life story.

"We are so delighted that we can take him and put him to rest with his mother and father. That's what we would like to do," she said.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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