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Remains of 2 airmen missing since WWII found

By CNN Staff
September 13, 2013 -- Updated 0120 GMT (0920 HKT)
  • A search found the remains of two World War II veterans who had been MIA
  • The airmen were found in an excavation in the mountains of Papua New Guinea
  • The bomber they were flying crashed behind enemy lines on March 13, 1944

(CNN) -- Their bodies were missing for decades after they disappeared behind enemy lines.

Now the remains of two U.S. Army Air Force troops who died during World War II are set to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery next week after search crews found them in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Defense Department POW/Missing Personnel Office said Thursday.

The A-20G Havoc bomber in which U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari were flying crashed after attacking enemy targets on March 13, 1944, the Defense Department said.

Their remains were recovered when the crash site was excavated last year.

More than 400,000 U.S. troops were killed during World War II, and the remains of more than 73,000 were never recovered or identified, the Defense Department says.

Papua New Guinea, an island country in the western Pacific, is north of Australia and just south of the equator. Much of the nation is covered in rugged terrain and rain forests.