US Secretary Carter Attends Repatriation Ceremony for WWII Aviators Lost in India

Honoring The Fallen: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter renders honors during a repatriation ceremony in New Delhi, April 13, 2016, to mark the return of possible remains of US service members lost in World War II

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Washington, DC – US Defense Secretary Ash Carter participated recently in a repatriation ceremony in New Delhi, India, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

The ceremony marked the return of possible remains of US service members lost in World War II, Cook said.

One set of remains was recovered in the Arunachal Pradesh state between Sept. 12 and Nov. 17, 2015, by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, he said.

“A second set of remains was unilaterally turned over to DPAA by a third party from the same region,” Cook added.

The remains recovered late last year are possibly associated with a B-24 Liberator bomber that crashed Jan. 25, 1944, while on a routine mission from Kunming, China, to Chabua, India. The eight crew members, assigned to the 308th Bomb Group, 14th Air Force, were all lost.

The remains that were turned over to DPAA are possibly related to a C-109 Liberator Express cargo aircraft that crashed on July 17, 1945, while traveling from Jorhat, India, to Hsinching, China, with a four-man Army Air Forces crew.

The ceremony, sponsored by the Defense Department, US Embassy New Delhi and India’s government, highlights the secretary’s strong commitment to bringing the nation’s fallen personnel home and providing their families the fullest possible accounting, Cook said.

“It’s also a testament to the deepening US-India defense partnership and a reflection of our shared commitment to universal values,” the press secretary said. “(The defense secretary) is grateful for the Indian government’s support for this important humanitarian mission and looks forward to cooperating on future personnel accounting operations.”

After the ceremony, the remains were flown by US military aircraft to the DPAA laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, for further identification.

(Also additional reporting by DoD News)

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