The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Ben B. Barnes, 23, of Miller, South Dakota, will be buried Saturday in his hometown.  On December 5, 1944, Barnes was assigned to the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group, as the pilot of a single seat P-51D aircraft on an escort mission to Berlin, Germany, when he encountered enemy aircraft during the return flight.

His plane was last reported northeast of Berlin over Eberswalde, and a German military shoot-down report documented a P-51 near Carlshof.

However, due to political restrictions in the Russian-occupied zone, American Graves Registration teams were unable to conduct further investigations. The War Department declared Barnes deceased as of December 6, 1945.

Recently, recovery teams located his remains. Barnes was positively identified thru DNA testing and dental records.

Ben Barnes Photo 2
SSG Kristen Duus/ Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (Used with Permission)

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

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