Remains of missing American WWII pilot found in Lampang, northern Thailand

US and Thai officials discovered the remains of an American soldier who went missing 78 years ago in Lampang province, northern Thailand, on Wednesday. The pilot’s P-38 Lightning single-seater fighter plane went down during World War II. On Wednesday, US and Thai authorities held a repatriation ceremony for the soldier in Rayong before sending his remains to Hawaii for further investigation. The repatriation ceremony marks the end of their search, which began 3 years ago.

The search on Wednesday was led by the US Department of Defense’s Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Accounting Agency – or the DPAA. The search was narrowed down to Mae Kua village in Sop Prap district after a 98 year old woman from the village recounted seeing an aircraft go down in Mae Kua when she was 21 years old.

The soldier’s bones have been sent to the DPAA’s office in Honolulu, Hawaii for further investigation. However, his identity has already been confirmed.

A repatriation ceremony was held at U-tapao Airport in Rayong to mark the end of the 3 year search for the soldier and aircraft. The ceremony was presided over by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of Bangkok’s US Embassy James L. Wayman and retired Air Chief Marshal Sakpinit Promthep of the Royal Thai Air Force. Wayman said the ceremony was a sign of the US’s determination to bring home all soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

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The mission’s success proves how good cooperation is between the US and Thailand, added Wayman. He expressed his gratitude to the Thai government and to the Mae Kua community in Lamping for helping the DPAA to perform their duties and fulfil their promises to the US nation. Over 30 residents from Mae Kae village joined in the search.

The DPAA operates regular investigations and searches for missing soldiers around the world. It supports the search for over 82,000 US military personnel lost in combat since World War II.

SOURCE: Thai Rath

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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