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Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Samuel E. Lunday – World War II Airman Missing

Airman Missing from WWII Identified

            The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. 

            Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Samuel E. Lunday, of Marianna, Fla., will be buried today, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC.  On April 24, 1943, Lunday and four other U.S. servicemen were flying a C-87 Liberator Express aircraft over the Himalayan Mountains, from Yangkai, China, to their home base in Chabua, India.  After losing radio communications following take-off, the crew was never heard from again.  Eleven aerial search missions were unable to locate the aircraft or crew due to intense snows on the mountains at high altitudes, and dense jungle growth at lower altitudes.

As part of the war effort against the Japanese, U.S. Army Air Forces cargo planes based in India continually airlifted critical supplies over the high mountain ranges that comprise the Himalayas — known as “The Hump” — in support of American airbases in China.  The amount of materiel flown over the Himalayas was a logistical achievement unparalleled at the time.

Almost 60 years later, in 2003, an American citizen discovered the wreckage of the C-87 aircraft while trekking in the mountains, approximately 100 miles from Chabua, near the Burmese border.  He recovered the aircraft’s identification plate, military equipment and human remains.  The artifacts and remains were turned over to U.S. officials for analysis.  Attempts to excavate the site are being negotiated with the Indian government.

To determine the identity of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Lunday’s nephews.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died.  Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo .

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About Posted by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer. In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials. Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat. Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republicanand The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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