The remains of a missing Second World War U.S. serviceman following identification were given full military honors after being returned to his family for internment, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced recently.
Brookings, South Dakota native, 1st Lt. Donald L. Beals, 22, was buried October 17 Arlington National Cemetery.
Beals, with the 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, while on an armed reconnaissance flying P-47D ‘Thunderbolt’ near Dresden, German, was shot down by anti-aircraft fire while he and his squadron leader dove to attack an enemy aircraft.
He was declared missing in action and declared dead in April 1946.
The American Graves Registration Command investigating Beals’ case was told by witnesses in 1947 that an American aircraft had crashed and exploded at a site.
The investigator located the wreckage and machine guns that bore the serial numbers corresponding to those in Beals’ P-47.
Human remains could not be identified and could not be recovered.
Four recovery missions were undertaken between April and August 2014. Recovered were osseous material, personal equipment, and material evidence.
In June 2004, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command investigation team in the area of Dresden was directed to a crash site by two German researchers who had located aircraft wreckage consistent with the missing aircraft, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reported.
To identify Beals’ remains mitochondrial DNA analysis matched a brother and sister, in addition to circumstantial and anthropological evidence.