Missing World War II flier from metro Atlanta to be buried Friday

Sixty-six years after his plane went down on a small island in the Philippines, a World War II serviceman from metro Atlanta will be buried on Friday.

The remains of Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. James G. Maynard of Ellenwood have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors, the Department of Defense announced on Wednesday.

Maynard will be buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

On March 12, 1945, Maynard and his five crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission.

“Once cleared for takeoff, there was no further communication between the air crew and airfield operators,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. “When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area 10 miles on either side of the intended route was initiated. No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six men were presumed killed in action.”

In 1989, a Philippines National Police officer contacted U.S. officials about a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte. Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials.

From 1989 to 2009, U.S. officials with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command sought permission to send teams to the crash site but unrest in the region prevented on-scene investigations or recovery operations.

Maynard’s remains were eventually identified using DNA, which matched that of Maynard’s cousin.