Remains of Ga. Air Force Staff Sgt. killed during WWII identified

Staff Sgt. William O. Wood
Staff Sgt. William O. Wood(DPAA)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 11:48 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Thursday the remains of U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. William O. Wood, 25, of Valdosta, Georgia, killed during World War II, have been accounted for.

The remains were accounted for on May 12, 2022. In the summer of 1943, Staff Sgt. Wood was assigned to the 328th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force.

On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 Liberator aircraft Staff Sgt. Wood was serving as a gunner crashed as a result of enemy anti-aircraft fire during Operation TIDAL WAVE, , the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, Romania.

His remains were not identified. The remains that could not be identified were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.

After WWII, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel, disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. The AGRC was unable to identify more than 80 unknowns from that cemetery.

Those remains they were unable to identify were permanently interred at Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, both in Belgium.

DPAA began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation TIDAL WAVE losses in 2017. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.

To identify Staff Sgt. Wood’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

Staff Sgt. Wood’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Staff Sgt. Wood Wood will be buried Aug. 1, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida. You can find out more information on his funeral by calling the Army Casualty Office at 800.892.2490.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website or their Facebook.

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