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Remains of Army officer killed in World War II identified

September 20, 2011 |  4:05 pm

The remains of an Army Air Forces officer from California lost during a World War II bombing mission have been identified and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

The remains of 2nd Lt. Charles E. Trimingham of Salinas will be buried Wednesday along with those of eight other service personnel killed in the crash of their B-17E Flying Fortress while on a bombing mission over Rabaul, Papau New Guinea, on June 26, 1943.

The plane, named the Naughty but Nice, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and then shot down by a Japanese fighter aircraft. Nine personnel were killed, the 10th survived and became a prisoner of war, the Pentagon said.

The remains of five of the nine were recovered in 1949 and buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Remains from those five will also be buried at Arlington National Cemetery--all in a single casket, officials said.

In 2001, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the crash site and found human remains and crew-related equipment. Improvements in identification technology led to the identification of Trimingham and three others.

The B-17 was a four-engine heavy bomber used in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.


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Photo: A restored B-17 Flying Fortress taking off from Burbank Airport in March. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.