Nearly 68 years to the day that Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John E. Hogan went missing over the skies of Germany during World War II, his remains have been identified and returned to his family. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery will full military honors on Friday.
According to the Department of Defense, Hogan was part of a nine-man crew on a B-17G Flying Fortress that crashed near the German town of Neustädt-on-Werra on September 13, 1944. One of the men was able to parachute to safety. The other were buried in a German cemetery.
Then, almost fifty years later in 1991:
[A] German national who was digging a grave in the cemetery in Neustädt, discovered a metal U.S. military identification tag and notified officials.
Due to German burial law, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) wasn’t granted access to the site until 2007 and excavated the location in 2008. The team recovered human remains and additional metal identification tags from three of the crewmembers.
Scientists from JPAC were able to identify Hogan's remains by matching his DNA with that of his cousin. They also used circumstantial evidence to solidify the identification.
The Department of Defense estimates at least 73,000 Americans who fought in World War II are still unaccounted for.