Missing Miller Airman To Be Laid To Rest After 70 Years

A Miller airman who went missing over 70 years ago is being laid to rest Saturday.

The Defense POW/MIA Agency says that the remains of Lt. Ben B. Barnes have been found, and will be buried in his hometown.

Barnes went missing Dec. 5, 1944 during World War II. He was the pilot of a single seat P-51D aircraft and was returning from a mission to Berlin, Germany when he encountered enemy fire. His plane was last reported to be northwest of Berlin near Eberswalde, Germany. A German report said that a P-51D like the one Barnes was flying had landed near Carlshof, Germany.

Barnes’ remains could not be found due to Russia having control over that area of Germany at the time. He was declared dead one year after he went missing by the War Department.

Nearly 65 years later, an POW/MIA investigation team found an eyewitness who was in the field when the P-51D plane crashed. He led investigators to the wreckage that was similar to the German report.

In July 2015, the site was excavated, where they found human remains and two .50 caliber machine guns that had the same serial numbers as Barnes’ plane.

Barnes’ remains where identified through DNA analysis which matched his cousin. The dental records also matched to Barnes.

Barnes is one of over 400,000 Americans to die in World War II.

His remains will be returned to his family to be buried in Miller with full military honors.