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Missing Ellenwood WWII serviceman found in Philippines

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

After 66 years, U. S. Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. James G. Maynard, a native of Ellenwood, is returning to America, from his service in World War II.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced this week that the remains of Maynard, who had been missing since the war, have been found, and are scheduled to be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va.

Maynard, and five other crew members, were on a C-47A Skytrain aircraft that disappeared during a mission to re-supply guerillas in the Philippines on March 12, 1945, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Defense. The Department of Defense stated that the plane had taken off from Tanauan Airfield, on Leyte, an island in the Philippines, but was not heard from again after it was cleared for take-off.

"No evidence of the aircraft was found, and the six men were presumed killed in action," the Department of Defense's news release states. "Their remains were determined to be non-recoverable in 1949."

Forty years later, U.S. officials were contacted by a Philippine National Police officer, about a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte, and human remains, aircraft parts, and artifacts, were given to the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, according to the Department of Defense.

The military had to wait another 20 years to conduct an on-scene investigation and recovery operations, because of unrest in the Burauen region of the Philippines, according to the Department of Defense. The department said Maynard's remains were eventually identified by the U.S. Armed forces DNA Identification Laboratory, which matched mitochondrial DNA from the remains with a cousin of the Ellenwood native.