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The remains of a soldier who died when his plane crashed in Papua New Guinea during World War II have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial.

Army 1st Lt. John Terpning, of Mount Prospect, Ill., will be buried April 3 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, a Defense Department statement said Friday.

Terpning and nine other crewman disappeared after the B-24D Liberator he was piloting took off from Nadzab, New Guinea on May 7, 1944 for a bombing mission, the statement said. They had been delayed in departing the airbase due to mechanical troubles and were unable to join the formation after takeoff.

The War Department declared all 10 men to be presumed dead in 1946, the statement said.

In 1973, a Papua New Guinea Forest Department official reported an aircraft in the mountains northeast of the city of Lae, according to the statement. Later that same year, a team from the Royal Australian Air Force visited the site, where they found wreckage from a B-24D.

The Australian team recovered possible human remains, which were transferred to the U.S. Army Mortuary in Tachikawa, Japan, the statement said. Due to the limited technology of the day, no human remains were individually identified and they were buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery in 1974.

In April 2008, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team investigated and surveyed the crash site, the statement said. They recovered additional remains as well as a radio call sign data plate that matched the B-24D.

Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA to identify the remains.

There were approximately 79,000 Americans who were either not recovered or identified at the end of World War II, the statement said. Today, more than 73,000 remain unaccounted for.

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