Remains heading here may be flier’s
The remains of what is believed to be a missing World War II airman whose aircraft crashed during a training mission on a California Sierra Nevada glacier will be flown to Hickam Air Force Base this weekend for identification by the military's major forensic laboratory.
An earlier set of remains was found two years ago entombed in ice in the same location. Paul Emanovsky, a forensic anthropologist with the Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, last year was involved in identifying the remains as those of Leo Mustonen.
Hikers discovered the second set of remains Aug. 15 in the high alpine region in the Mount Mendel area of Kings Canyon National Park -- about 100 feet from where Mustonen's remains were discovered in October 2005. The area had been under several feet of snow until this summer.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Feeney, spokeswoman for the military forensic laboratory, said the command on Monday received an e-mail from National Park Service officials requesting its support.
Emanovsky flew to California on Monday to examine the remains at the Fresno County coroner's office and to bring them back this weekend by military transport.
There were four men aboard the AT-7 navigational plane that disappeared after takeoff from a Sacramento, Calif., airfield on Nov. 18, 1942.
Besides Mustonen, of Brainerd, Minn., who was the pilot, the other three were: William Gamber, 23, and aviation Cadets John Mortenson, 25, and Ernest Munn, 23 . The military has not released the names of crew's family members.
The Associated Press said the second set of remains was found resting among granite boulders, with an unopened parachute stenciled "US ARMY" just inches away.
The forensic identification process can take anywhere from a few weeks to years to complete.
The mission of JPAC is to account for all missing American service members from our nation's past wars.