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Remains recovered of Southern California soldier missing from World War II

February 10, 2011 | 10:45 am

The remains of a soldier from Whittier who was killed in World War II in the crash of a B-24D Liberator in Papua New Guinea have been recovered and identified, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

The remains of Staff Sgt. Ivan O. Kirkpatrick, 36, are among the remains of 11 U.S. service personnel located in the crash wreckage and identified.

The plane took off on Nov. 20, 1943, from Jackson Airfield in Port Moresby, New Guinea, on an over-water mission. After the plane failed to return, searchers were unsuccessful in finding any wreckage.

In 1984, the government of Papua New Guinea notified U.S. officials of a crash site in a deep ravine. Multiple teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command have attempted to excavate the site. In 2004, villagers brought human remains to officials.

The remains of Kirkpatrick and nine other crew members will be buried as a group March 24 at Arlington National Cemetery. Tech. Sgt. Charles Bode, 23, of Baltimore will be buried separately Friday at the cemetery.

At the end of World War II, the remains of 79,000 Americans remained unrecovered. Today, more than 74,000 missing are still unaccounted for, officials said.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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