U.S. airman's remains recovered in Hungary
BUDAPEST, Hungary » The remains of a U.S. airman whose plane was shot down over Hungary in World War II have been recovered from wreckage left unexcavated in a rural area for 63 years, American and Hungarian officials said last week.
The remains of Staff Sgt. Martin Troy were found among the wreck of a B-24H "Liberator" bomber in the village of Nemesvita, about 110 miles southwest of the capital, Budapest.
The recovery was carried out by the U.S. military's Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, which identifies and recovers American soldiers killed in conflicts around the world.
Troy, a native of Norwalk, Conn., was the only member of the bomber's crew who had yet to be fully accounted for. Though the identity of the remains must be confirmed by DNA testing, officials said there was virtually no doubt they belonged to Troy.
"After 63 years of being listed as 'killed in action, body not recovered,' this airman's family can finally experience closure," U.S. Ambassador to Hungary April Foley said at a ceremony to officially hand over the remains to the U.S.
The wreckage was deemed "unrecoverable" in 1945 by the American Graves Registration Unit, because of its location. The bomber crashed into marshy land, creating a crater 6 yards wide by 18 yards long, covered by 2 to 3 feet of water.
JPAC began making efforts to recover Troy's remains two years ago "because of congressional interest," said Marine Capt. George Murphy, the military leader of the JPAC team. One of the surviving crew members and other veterans lobbied for the JPAC mission.
Troy was the tail gunner on the bomber nicknamed "Miss Fortune," which was returning from a mission in Germany to its base in Italy. His aircraft and three others flew into bad weather and were shot down by German gunners over western Hungary on June 30, 1944.
JPAC will attempt to return Troy's remains to relatives if they can be found. He could be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.