A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Remains of Lost WWII Pilot Identified
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEBRASKA—According to an Associated Press report, the remains of an Army Air Forces pilot shot down over Germany during World War II have been identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Six of the 10 crew members onboard a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber for a mission over Leipzig on May 29, 1944 were able to escape the plane when it was hit, but 23-year-old Lt. Carl Nesbitt of Lima, Ohio, and the others were killed. It had been thought that the men had been buried in a local cemetery, and the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was able to recover the remains of one of the crew members in 1946. However, the AGRC was no longer able to look for the remains of the fallen after 1950, when this part of Germany was under the control of the Soviet Union. The crash site was located by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in 2012, and an excavation was conducted in 2019. Nesbitt’s remains were identified through dental and anthropological analysis, mitochondrial DNA analysis, and circumstantial and material evidence. His surviving family members have been notified and his remains will be reburied later this year. To read about another Air Forces pilot whose remains were recovered from Normandy, go to "Letter from Normandy: The Legacy of the Longest Day."
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