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DNA helps to ID World War II pilot; remains arrived Wednesday to Kansas City International Airport

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Posted at 1:22 PM, Jul 05, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The remains of a World War II pilot arrived in Kansas City earlier this week after he was identified using modern DNA techniques.

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Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John E. McLauchlen Jr., 25, of Detroit, Michigan

Army Air Force 2nd Lt. John McLauchlen Jr., 25, of Detroit, Michigan, was on a bombing mission in December 1943 near Burma when his B-24J plane was struck by enemy fire and presumed lost.

It took four years for the remains of those on the aircraft to be located, but the remains were unable to be identified and were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

In 2019, roughly 75 years after his plane was shot down, McLauchlen’s family members made a disinterment request the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in an attempt to identify the remains as belonging to McLauchlen.

The results of further analysis of the remains positively identified them as belonging to McLauchlen in January 2024.

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His remains were transported back to the mainland and he arrived thanks to a commercial aircraft on Wednesday, July 3 to Kansas City International Airport.

As part of his arrival at KMCI, the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department provided a water salute as the plane taxied to the gate.

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McLauchlen is scheduled to be buried this summer at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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