WWII Airman From Jamaica Plain's Remains Identified

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A U.S. airman from Jamaica Plain's remains have been identified using DNA analysis, over 76 years after he was killed in action in WWII.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Friday that U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Joseph E. Finneran was accounted for on August 9.

Finneran was 22 years old on August 1, 1943, when the B-24D bomber on which he served as bombardier was shot down by anti-aircraft fire in Romania.

His unit, the 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), was taking part in Operation Tidal Wave, bombing the oil fields and refineries in Ploiesti, Romania, in an attempt to deny critical oil supplies to Axis forces.

The costly raid, in which 52 aircraft were lost and 310 airmen were killed, was later referred to as "Bloody Sunday," according to the National WWII Museum.

Finneran was one of 27 Americans lost in the raid whose remains could not be identified. His remains were first buried in a cemetery in Romania, then re-interred in an American military cemetery in Belgium.

The DPAA started looking into the unidentified airmen killed in Operation Tidal Wave in 2017, and used anthropological and mitochondrial DNA analysis to account for Finneran's remains.

According to the DPAA, there are 72,652 American service members still unaccounted for from the Second World War, "of which approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly recoverable."

Finneran will be buried in West Roxbury on November 9.

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