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The remains of two Navy aviators missing in action from World War II have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors, the Defense Department announced Monday.

The aviators were identified as Lt. Francis B. McIntyre of Mitchell, S.D., and Petty Officer 2nd Class William L. Russell of Cherokee, Okla. They died when their SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber crashed on Papua New Guinea in 1943, according to the DOD.

On Nov. 10 that year they were on a bombing and strafing mission and were last seen flying at low altitude through a large explosion on an enemy airfield on Buka Island, Papua New Guinea, according to the release.

The remains of McIntyre and Russell were discovered after a Papuan national found and reported the wreckage of the bomber near the Buka airport to U.S. officials in 2007, the DOD said.

The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Hawaii later confirmed the identification of the remains.

McIntyre was to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Wednesday, and Russell will be buried there Friday.

From staff reports


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