CBI World War II MIA and KIA in Crash of C-47B # 43-48308 17 May 1946

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DPMO Updates

On Saturday, September 24, 2005, the DPMO Family Updates Conference was held at the Town & Country Hotel in San Diego. Several of our family members attended.

 
These day-long conferences are held monthly throughout the year at locations all around the country (next one is in Spokane on Nov. 19). See  http://www.dtic.mil.dpmo
<http://www.dtic.mil.dpmo/> .  The purpose of the DPMO meetings is  to present information on their efforts to achieve the "fullest possible accounting of missing Americans from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Cold War and World War II."  Of the 90,000 Americans still unaccounted for, 79,000 are from WWII.
 
After an overview of the program and an introduction of who's who in DPMO, an hour was allotted to allow family members to briefly speak about their missing loved one.  It was unhurried, and everyone who cared to speak did.  Many of their comments were quite moving -- somewhat reminiscent of the sharing circles at AWON conferences.  (As many of us saw at the WWII Memorial Dedication in May, folks from the Greatest
Generation still cry when they reflect about their war.)
 
Each family member is assigned a representative who becomes the contact for all matters regarding the missing loved one.  Dr. Chris McDermott was the contact, along with Tracy Brown and another scientists, who presented the information gathered thus far about our missing family members and the efforts to locate the crashed C-47B. All family members present were given every opportunity to ask questions and offer information and comments. A more exact and feasible crash site location needs to be available for the government to facilitate a search.
 
DPMO's slogan is "Keeping the Promise"  that every effort will be made to find and return all soldiers to the land they died to defend.  A final presenter said, "Every soldier deserves a ride home."  
 
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Goodrich were there and offer this information from their experience:
 
The San Diego POW-MIA meeting was a very enlightening series of meetings that can be ranked as something each of us family members  might like to attend, once.  The first meeting was a general meeting of relatives from all conflicts from WW-II forward with a lengthy introduction of the 60 individuals the government brought to the session accompanied with what their duties include. After introductions relatives were invited to speak to honor their family member(s) lost.  That session then split into groups of each conflict which as we learned was the first time there was a session specifically for WW-II families.
 
DPMO (Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office) and JPAC (Joint POW-MIA Accounting Office) members spoke at this session advising how they do their work and more specifically as to WW-II in the area of forensics and investigations.   During the Q&A they happened to disclose they are short of funds by speaking of problems they are having in several areas.  At this point I told them of the recent newspaper article  about my brother and the intention of the article to assist in seeking Congressional support for their work.  And when specifically asked about that part of the story by the newspaper reporter, Personnel at JPAC denied they were short and the reporter came back to me asking 'what gives' and changed the story line direction.  We then broke for lunch.  My statements caused some staff concern as manifested when we went to the table to donate DNA to the forensics group (for use for assistance in identification of remains, if found).  Before reaching the table, two officials approached me and we spent the next full hour in a discussion of why that was said and answered my inquiry of how to support their work.  Certain conclusions were gleaned from this conversation:
 
1.    The statement from government officials that 'no one will be left behind' is pure rhetoric!  (his words)   Their staff was severely reduced by the Clinton Administration.  The Bush administration is more friendly, but they have a terrorist war to fight and little empathy for our issue.
 
2.    Their combined agency is indeed running short, 8 Million Dollars short.
 
3.     If we wanted more action, we needed to form a pressure on the congress by forming a national organization  - like the Korean and Viet Nam families did in the past, garnering great public and media attention.
 
I was told that when a letter is written to a congressman about the subjectit is referred to their offices, who then write a report of information as directed by their Military leaders. The agency will deny any financial problems as "they are not allowed to lobby Congress" for funds.   I was also told it will take a organization of relatives  making enough concern at the congressional level that they might lose votes if they don't do this.   There was a not a comforting answer to the question of how to get past their denials undercutting what we are asking for as they reply whatever their commanding officers viewpoint is. 
 
These people as individuals are perceived as earnest about their work but inhibited by the politics in Washington and the Military.  By this time it nearly 3PM,  so we joined other members of our meeting with JPAC for a presentation about the missing aircraft in India that crashed carrying our loved ones in 1946.  An excellent  report was given regarding the issues of where to search with the latest information about the plane and what they could do next.  One statement was the problem our crash presents these people and probably why our issue will not go away for them.  Our single flight/crash is significant as it represents more than half of the 109 people being sought in the BC (Burma-China Theatre of Operations). 

End of Jim's comments.

Hope remains eternal to bring our loved ones home.

Lisa Phillips provides this report:
 
This was not just a meeting for me but it was also a chance to meet some of the other family members.  This was especially important for me.   I feel we as family members share a very important bond.   I met Cindy Taylor and her two adorable well behaved children(she is the niece of Julius Yackie), Walter Dutton and his wife(nephew of Donald Dutton - graves registration - fondly referred to as our web master), Jim Goodrich(brother of Burdette Goodrich and his wife- whom I will now refer to as "our go get em" man),  Christine Wilgus and her husband(niece of Norman Albinson - I think of Chris as a sister - our uncles were the only 2 bombers shot down in the 308th bomb group on November 27, 1943 and we are equally as emotional on this whole ordeal)and of course Gene Gambale(who I have met before and am very close to - he is the one that makes me laugh every time I feel like crying - so we can refer to him as the class clown).    I can not put into words how happy I was to meet all of them.   I really got teary eyed through a lot of the meeting but did not cry and I think Christine is really the only one that saw this and fully understands why. 
 
So now on to the meeting stuff:
 
As Jim pointed out we had our initial DPMO beginning where everyone was introduced, and members stood up and talked about their missing loved one.   I did not do this because I made a vow to myself that this time around I would not cry so I kept silent.   When Christine asked me why I did not talk about uncle Joe - I replied "probably for the same reason you did not mention Uncle Norman".  Enough said on that - apparently Christine wanted me to give my story of how Uncle Joe hid his wedding band in the lining of his pants right up until he was dying.   At that time he gave his wedding band to his crewmate Joseph McClung who brought it home to Aunt Bernice and told her how Joe loved her so very much and was not going to let the "Japs" take that away from him.    So as you can see I totally would have broken down and this I did not want to do - not this very important day.    I will keep the tears among us family members and stand strong in front of the others.  
 
Now as Jim mentioned next came the WWII Family Break out and Jim stood strong and would not back off until the families of 8308 had an answer on the budget question - and I was so very proud of him for not backing down.   Someone had to do it and these people have heard enough of my mouth through the years.   It was time they heard from other family members of 8308.   That was important to me as well.  I wish you could have all been there for that.   DPMO I do not think knew what to make of that question.   And as Jim mentioned "off the record" he got the response - they are 8 million dollars short in the budget to do what they need to do and do what they do the best.   So that answered that question.  Thank you Jim for not backing down and being the mouth piece we all needed at that particular moment.
 
Then the break for lunch.   Then we received a presentation of how remains are recovered and identified.  I had seen this before - but many of the other family members had not.  So as it was mentioned in the meeting - it is much like CSI.   It is very interesting.   Next was the moment we all had waited for - we met with our historian Chris McDermott from JPAC.   Chris showed us a slide presentation of all of the work that has gone into this case and answered our questions as best he could and so did DPMO.   I know it was not the answer we had all hoped for - we still have far to go.   But if you knew how far Chris and I have come on this - you would know we really have come very far.   There are still some steps we need to take as family members.   And there are steps that Chris is taking that we are not really fully aware of but he is working on the case diligently.  Being a government official these steps can not be discussed with us at this time until there is more solid proof of what he is working on.   I guess what I am trying to say is that he is working on this case but is not at liberty at this time to discuss exactly what he is working on.  
 
So what do we need to do:
 
We need to continue with lobbying congress for funding for WWII recovery and research.
We need to lobby our Congress men and woman  to get attention on this particular case - it was highly recommended by "un-named" personnel that this is extremely important for each and every one of us to do.   Jim and I know the names but we can not discuss that with anyone. 
I do know by other "un-named" individuals off the record that there is some other research going into this case and we will be made aware of the findings when they are available to us or should I say when we are allowed to know.    Sometimes I feel like we are back in the WWII era - I remember reading the letter to my family written in I think 1947-1949 that states "we are now at liberty to tell you that your loved one died in the Rangoon Prison camp and was lost aboard missing AGRS C-47 43-48308 on 17 May 1946"  Gosh I can not imagine how it was - I am sure Jim and Ruth and many of the others can recall how traumatic that was at the time.   How many years had passed before they were allowed to know how these men had died.   It is traumatic to me at times - I just can not imagine being there at the time - I can say I think I understand the feelings back then - although it must have been ten fold the feelings I go through now on this.    
 
So bottom line this case is being worked on much more then we thought it was being worked on.   We all need to write to our Senator about this case.   We all need to be the Loud Voice for WWII MIA.  And we all need to keep the faith - these men and woman of all of the agencies really do care and really do an excellent job on trying to resolve these cases.
 

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Attending were Chris Wilgus (Albinson), Cindy Taylor (Yackie), Walter Dutton - in back (Dutton), Lisa Phillips (Rich), Gene Gambale (Gambale), and Jim Goodrich (Goodrich).

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Questions - Contact webmaster wdutton@miac47burmawwii.org