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Thread: 352nd Fighter Group Pilot lost over France in 1944 coming home

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    Default 352nd Fighter Group Pilot lost over France in 1944 coming home


    352nd Clash found this article in the Chicago Daily Herald, May 29, 2011:




    By Tara García Mathewson

    "After 67 years, a U.S. patriot is coming home.

    "Lt. James Meagher
    , a member of the 352nd Fighter Group in World War II, was listed as missing in action after his plane was shot down in France on Feb. 8, 1944. His remains will finally return to his hometown of Elgin this summer after a lengthy investigation by the U.S. government.

    "Bob “Punchy” Powell, who lives in Atlanta, served with Meagher for four months before the pilot was shot down. Powell, now 90, serves as the historian of the 352nd Fighter Group Association. He has written two books about their exploits, one of which includes a bit about Meagher’s last moments.


    "Powell said Meagher and two other pilots were shot down by German planes while trying to escort a crippled B-17 back to safety.


    "Powell, who formed bonds of war with the pilot, said he was a good man.


    “'Jim was a fine officer, great pilot and a good friend and comrade,' Powell said.


    "Meagher graduated from Elgin High School in 1932 and was commissioned into the Army Air Corps 10 years later. He was married and a manager in a storage and transfer company when he left for war.


    "During his service, Meagher received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.


    "Powell said the 352nd destroyed 976 German aircraft during its missions. “We’re one of the most highly decorated fighter groups of World War II,” Powell said. “But we lost 93 pilots.”


    "Larry Greer is the spokesman for the Pentagon’s POW/MIA office. The policy oversight agency does archival research and investigations on cases of missing soldiers. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) is the field investigation and laboratory side of the agency — the one that ultimately recovered and identified Meagher’s remains.


    "Greer said there are approximately 88,000 soldiers missing from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the Cold War.


    “'They’re missing but they’re certainly not forgotten, as evidenced by this case,' Greer said. “We have teams working around the world 365 days a year to investigate these cases, to do the lab work and the field work, and bring them home. And we do.”


    "The Department of Defense identifies about 90 people per year who gave the ultimate sacrifice in their time serving the United States military, according to Greer.


    "JPAC received a call in June of 2006 from a French citizen who had done research on the 1944 crash, according to Greer. A team went to France that September and spoke with an 82-year-old man who said his father had recovered remains from the crash site.


    "By August of 2008, a team went to excavate and recover what they could from the area. Dental records combined with serial numbers on machine guns and identifying parts of the aircraft debris confirmed by July 2009 that the remains were in fact Meagher’s, Greer said.


    "Meagher’s surviving family members, who have asked not to be contacted by the news media, were briefed in March of this year. Burial is tentatively scheduled for this summer, according to Greer.


    “`His remains will be buried just like if they were lost today,' Greer said. `There will be a flag-draped casket, headstone, funeral services and all expenses borne by the government.'


    "There are more than 73,000 people still unaccounted for from World War II with another 8,000 from Korea and 1,800 from Vietnam, according to the Department of Defense.


    “`Those two time periods of Korea and World War II — there is an awful lot of families out there that don’t know what happened to their loved ones,' said John Carr, the superintendent of the Kane County Veteran’s Assistance Commission.


    "Carr has not been involved in the recovery of Meagher’s remains or in the plans for his return but followed the man’s story as someone recognized on the Kane County Veterans Memorial.


    Carr said of the 849 names on the memorial, a large number of World War II soldiers are still listed as missing in action.


    “`These are families that would dearly like to know where their loved ones are resting and if possible bring them back,' Carr said.


    "For Meagher’s family and friends, it took 67 years but the mystery has finally been solved.


    "• More information on efforts to recover the remains of missing soldiers is at
    dtic.mil/dpmo."

    A quick look at "The Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney" suggests that Lt. Meagher (named as "Meager" at page 272) was flying PE-M, Patricia Lee, a P-47 at the time he was lost.
    Last edited by 352nd Persecutor; 05-31-2011 at 10:05 AM.
    Pers

    Ahh, isn't he such an Angel?
    How could you possibly shoot at him?

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