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  1. #1
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    CA - Body Found in Glacier Thought to Be WWII Airman - Leo Mustonen

    Body Found in Glacier Thought to Be WWII Airman
    By JULIANA BARBASSA, AP

    FRESNO, Calif. (Oct. 19) - Two climbers on a Sierra Nevada glacier discovered an ice-encased body believed to be that of an airman whose plane crashed in 1942.The man was wearing a World War II-era Army-issued parachute when his frozen head, shoulder and arm were spotted Sunday on 13,710-foot Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National Park, park spokeswoman Alex Picavet said.Park rangers and specialists camped on the remote mountainside in freezing weather for an excavation expected to take several days.

    The body was 80 percent encased in ice, Picavet said Wednesday."We're not going to go fast," she said. "We want to preserve him as much as possible. He's pretty intact."The excavation crew included an expert from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military unit that identifies and recovers personnel who have been missing for decades.

    Park officials believe the serviceman may have been part of the crew of an AT-7 navigational training plane that crashed on Nov. 18, 1942. The wreckage and four bodies were found in 1947 by a climber.

    Some 88,000 Americans are missing in action from past wars, military officers said. Most of them - 78,000 - are from World War II.The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command works on hundreds of cases a year, averaging two identifications a week, said spokeswoman Rumi Nielson-Green.

    Finding bodies preserved in a glacier is unusual but not unheard of, command officials said. Two years ago, the unit recovered the body of a Cold War-era officer who died in Greenland. 10-19-05

    Link:
    http://articles.news.aol.com/news/ar...00010000000001

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Body Found in Glacier Thought to Be WWII Airman
    By JULIANA BARBASSA, AP

    FRESNO, Calif. (Oct. 19) - Two climbers on a Sierra Nevada glacier discovered an ice-encased body believed to be that of an airman whose plane crashed in 1942.The man was wearing a World War II-era Army-issued parachute when his frozen head, shoulder and arm were spotted Sunday on 13,710-foot Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National Park, park spokeswoman Alex Picavet said.Park rangers and specialists camped on the remote mountainside in freezing weather for an excavation expected to take several days.

    The body was 80 percent encased in ice, Picavet said Wednesday."We're not going to go fast," she said. "We want to preserve him as much as possible. He's pretty intact."The excavation crew included an expert from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military unit that identifies and recovers personnel who have been missing for decades.

    Park officials believe the serviceman may have been part of the crew of an AT-7 navigational training plane that crashed on Nov. 18, 1942. The wreckage and four bodies were found in 1947 by a climber.

    Some 88,000 Americans are missing in action from past wars, military officers said. Most of them - 78,000 - are from World War II.The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command works on hundreds of cases a year, averaging two identifications a week, said spokeswoman Rumi Nielson-Green.

    Finding bodies preserved in a glacier is unusual but not unheard of, command officials said. Two years ago, the unit recovered the body of a Cold War-era officer who died in Greenland. 10-19-05

    Link:
    http://articles.news.aol.com/news/ar...00010000000001
    I saw that on the news. Great that his family will now know exactly what happened to him, and even be able to give him a proper burial. I wonder if he was married with children??

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Some 88,000 Americans are missing in action from past wars, military officers said. Most of them - 78,000 - are from World War II.
    That is a lot of people, so very sad. everyone deserves a proper burial and each family deserves answers.

  4. #4
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    On CNN headline news just now, they said an 80 year old Pitsburgh woman is claiming that this must be her brother, Ernest Munn (Munde, Mund). Sorry about the mis-spelling but they didn't show how it was spelled on CNN.

  5. #5
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    http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/s...14584033c.html

    Snip:
    "Dr. Robert Johnson, chief of the archives branch at the United States Air Force Historical Research Agency, housed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, said a 1942 accident report said the Army Air Force AT-7 took off from Mather Field at 8:30 a.m. Nov., 18, 1942. Pilot William A. Gamber, 23, of Payette, Ohio, and three training cadets were aboard, Johnson said. The plane, with five hours worth of fuel, was supposed to fly north to Corning and return, Johnson said.

    "Cadets were John Mortenson, 25, from Moscow, Idaho, Ernest Munn, 23, from St. Clairesville, Ohio, and Leo Mustonen, 22, from Brainerd, Minn."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by upallnite
    On CNN headline news just now, they said an 80 year old Pitsburgh woman is claiming that this must be her brother, Ernest Munn (Munde, Mund). Sorry about the mis-spelling but they didn't show how it was spelled on CNN.
    I'm glad he is able to come home at long last.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandora
    http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/s...14584033c.html

    Snip:
    "Dr. Robert Johnson, chief of the archives branch at the United States Air Force Historical Research Agency, housed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, said a 1942 accident report said the Army Air Force AT-7 took off from Mather Field at 8:30 a.m. Nov., 18, 1942. Pilot William A. Gamber, 23, of Payette, Ohio, and three training cadets were aboard, Johnson said. The plane, with five hours worth of fuel, was supposed to fly north to Corning and return, Johnson said.

    "Cadets were John Mortenson, 25, from Moscow, Idaho, Ernest Munn, 23, from St. Clairesville, Ohio, and Leo Mustonen, 22, from Brainerd, Minn."
    There seems to be a slight discrepancy in these stories. One states that four persons were on board the AT-7, another states that four bodies were previously recovered, yet here is a body which they think came from the same plane? I suspect that besides the pilot and three cadets, there may have been a Navigator instructor on board, as would have been normal practice. Or that only three bodies were previously recovered?

  8. #8
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    May just be a discrepancy in the reporting in the intervening years, or could be that someone jumped aboard this training flight just to get their flight hours for the month. If you are familiar with Flight 19, the famous 1945 flight which went missing in the area referred to as the Bermuda Triangle, a similar situation caused discussion for several years. Fliers would add themselves to training flights or, conversely, delete themselves from training flights, depending upon how much of their mandatory flight time they had conducted for the month. The record keeping from these training flights is not what one might expect from the military.

  9. #9
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    Pending identification?....

    It is likely that this man's body has been sent to Hawaii for identification by the Army's Joint Casualty Resolution team (or whatever their current title is). The fact that there seems to be a suspected link to the missing Navigation Training flight - both from California authorities, and from a woman claiming to be his sister will help immensely in the identification process.

    Does anyone have any news articles or information regarding the earlier recovery efforts which took place to gather and identify the remains of the other crewmembers?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Does anyone have any news articles or information regarding the earlier recovery efforts which took place to gather and identify the remains of the other crewmembers?
    This article has some background.

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) For nearly 60 years, the names of a pilot and three crewmembers who died when their plane crashed into an icy peak have been etched on a military gravestone.

    During that time, however, most of their actual remains have rested on a lonely mountain...

    In 1947, an engine from the plane, clothing, a dog tag and scattered human remains were discovered far off the plane's course and the crewmembers were given a ceremonial burial...

    Military personnel, rangers, highway patrol officers, loggers and others spent about a month looking for the craft before the search was suspended in December 1942, a time of year when the Sierra is typically buried deep in snow.

    Climbers found the wreckage and the identification tag of Cadet John M. Mortenson in the remote backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park in 1947 on a steep glacier near Mount Darwin and Mount Mendel, above Evolution Valley.

    "A small piece of frozen flesh was found on a spur of rock at upper edge of glacier," according to a copy of the report posted on Accident-Report.com, a website that tracks military crashes. "Small pieces of clothing and a blank navigation log ... were found in the vicinity of the flesh. Insufficient remains were found for identification of bodies or to indicate the number of persons aboard."

    The search team concluded that further investigation was inadvisable because of dangerous conditions and because the debris was scattered and buried in snow and ice.

    The crew was honored with a military burial at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, one of the largest military graveyards on the West Coast.


  11. #11
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    This case will be featured on Anderson Cooper 360, tonight at 10:00pm (east coast time), CNN.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowangel
    This case will be featured on Anderson Cooper 360, tonight at 10:00pm (east coast time), CNN.

    Notsomething i'll be able to access and i would be grateful to anyone who watches who could give a summary of what was said.

  13. #13
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    On the news, they didn't name the airman, but they did show one of his dog tags, being X-rayed to try and pick up the characters on the dog tag. The three letters I picked up were BUZ. I looked at the names of the missing airmen, Leo M. Mustonen, was the only one I saw with a somewhat odd first name; when your first name is unusual, you usually end up with a nickname. Wondering if BUZZ could have been on his dog tags. If so, the mssing airman is him.

    Four men were aboard: 2nd Lt. William A. Gamber, 23, of Fayette, Ohio; Cadet John M. Mortenson, 25, of Moscow, Idaho; Cadet Ernest G. Munn, 23, of Pleasant Grove, Ohio; and Cadet Leo M. Mustonen, 22, of Brainerd, Minn. The lab has requested the dental records of all four men but has yet to receive them. Those records should be key evidence because the teeth with the remains, which were found encased in ice, had a lot of dental work done
    Last edited by Buzz Mills; 11-12-2005 at 03:32 AM.

  14. #14
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    By using a special light source, Paul Emanovsky, a forensic anthropologist at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command's identification lab at Hickam Air Force Base, was able to read enough letters on a corroded name tag found with the remains last month, said Army Maj. Rumi Nielson-Green.

    "He was successful in recovering several letters of a name, and it corresponds with the name of one of the four individuals on the aircraft," she said.

  15. #15
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    Families hope 63-year mystery finally solved
    Frozen body of WWII airman -- which of 4 missing fliers is he?
    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    As World War II loomed, William Gamber was growing up in Fayette, Ohio, the tall, dark, athletic son of the town barber. On the other end of the state, blond, blue-eyed Ernest Munn was living on a small farm with hay fields, pigs and a horse, the big brother of three sisters.

    Meanwhile, slender, fastidious Leo Mustonen was being raised by Finnish immigrant parents in Brainerd, Minn., and John Mortenson was a young man in Moscow, Idaho.

    The fate of the four men merged on Nov. 18, 1942. At 8:30 a.m., Gamber, a pilot, and the three others, aspiring Army Air Corps fliers, boarded an AT-7 plane at Mather Field in Sacramento and headed north to Corning on a routine training mission. They were never heard from again.

    Barbara Adams of San Carlos has high hopes that the remains are those of William A. Gamber, her first cousin. She was heartened by reports that the serviceman who was recovered had had extensive dental work done, which would be consistent with her cousin.

    http://tinyurl.com/dytth

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