The Remains Of A World War Two Veteran Will Be Repatriated to the USA

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Marvin B. Rothman flew a single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt during WWII.
Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Marvin B. Rothman flew a single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt during WWII.

The remains of a US serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified. They will be returned to the family for burial with full military honors, according to an announcement by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

Marvin B. Rothman was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 311th Fighter Squadron, 58th Fighter Group for the US Army Air Forces when he was killed. The 21-year-old pilot from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, flew a single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt, escorting a bombing mission along with fifteen other Thunderbolts in the Wewak Territory of New Guinea on April 11, 1944. Rothman was attacked by enemy warplanes. Rothman and two other P-47D pilots were missing when the escorts returned to base after the mission. He was declared deceased by the War department on February 6, 1946.

In September of 1946, the American Graves Registration Service in Finschhafen, New Guinea, was informed by a US infantry officer that a team from the Australian War Graves had discovered the remains of what appeared to be a US airman. The wreckage of his plane had a partial serial number visible that corresponded to the number on Rothman’s plane.

The AGRS tried to identify the airman in November of 1946 but was unable to confirm his identity partly because the dental records were incomplete.

In January of 1950, the AGRS declared Rothman as non-recoverable due to lack of conclusive evidence.

Then, in July of 2004, a contractor working for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was investigating a crash site that local residents in New Guinea had discovered.

He found evidence from the wreckage conclusively identifying it as Rothman’s plane. In August of 2009, a recovery team returned with more remains from the site along with other artifacts.

Using anthropological and circumstantial evidence with a dental analysis, the DPAA was able to positively identify Rothman, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reported.

Over 400,000 US servicemen and women were killed out of the 16 million that served in World War II. There are still 73,067 servicemen unaccounted for from that war. A rosette will be placed next to Rothman’s name on the Walls of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery to show that he was been accounted for.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE