U.S. and Thailand Work Together in Search for Missing WWII Airman

U.S. and Thailand Work Together in Search for Missing WWII Airman

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2022

Today, the U.S. government launched a joint U.S.-Thailand operation in search of an American pilot missing for more than 70 years.

The airman, along with his P-38 aircraft, are believed to have gone down near Baan Mae Kua village, in Sop Prap district of Lampang province during World War II. Nine specialists have arrived from the U.S. Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency’s Hawaii headquarters to conduct the search mission, supported by the Baan Mae Kua community. Chargé d’Affaires Michael Heath, Consul General Sean O’Neill, and Colonel Alongkot Donmoon, representing the Governor of Lampang Province visited the site to meet with the team and learn about their specific duties, while assisting in the search.

CDA Heath said: “After more than 70 years the United States is still working to bring home all of our service members. This humanitarian mission is a symbol of the great cooperation and friendship between the United States and Thailand. On behalf of the United States of America and the American people, I want to express gratitude to the local community, the local authorities, and the government of Thailand for helping us fulfill our sacred duty and promise to the nation.”

Major Brian W. Smith, the mission commander, said: “Our goal here is to give the fullest possible accounting of the incident and maintain open communication with the families of the missing. A sincere thank you to our Thai hosts for helping us bring our service members home.”

Approximately 81,600 American personnel are still unaccounted for from past conflicts. The U.S. government is committed to providing the fullest possible accounting of the missing to the nation and their families. This mission is the first significant recovery operation in Thailand since 2007. In July 2018, DPAA obtained new information regarding three missing U.S. World War II aircraft located in northern Thailand which led to further investigation of the missing aircraft reports in the area.  Each of these losses is associated with a U.S. service member who has yet to be accounted for. This mission has been made possible by extensive research conducted by both historians and volunteers from both Thailand and the United States, and incorporates information learned from eyewitness accounts.

For further information on the missing American Service Member or DPAA and its mission please refer to DPAA’s website at www.DPAA.mil.

Download more photos here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1y6Vj2k9y2XXFKftC3cfUZX7OO3n50fn3