The remains of a four-man Army Air Forces crew that disappeared during a World War II mission over the Himalaya Mountains have been identified, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced Monday.
The four are pilot Capt. Douglas R. Wight of Westfield, N.J.; co-pilot 1st Lt. Herbert W. Evans of Rapid City S.D.; crew chief Cpl. John W. Hanlon of Arnett, Okla.; and radio operator Pfc. Gerald L. Rugers Jr., of Tacoma, Wash. Group remains of all four were to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
On March 27, 1944, the airmen departed on a C-46 from a base in Kunming, China, for Sookerating, India, as part of the massive allied resupply missions over the Himalayan Mountains, referred to as the “Hump.” En route, one of the crew called out for a bearing, suggesting the aircraft was lost, according to DPMO. There was no further communication with the plane; searches during and after the war failed to locate the crash site.
People’s Republic of China officials notified the United States in early 2001 that the wreckage of an American World War II aircraft had been found on Meiduobai Mountain in a remote area of Tibet.