WEST, Texas / WASHINGTON, D.C. (FOX 44) – On Saturday, the remains of 20-year-old U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Louis V. Girard will be buried in West, almost 77 years after he died.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has announced Girard’s remains were accounted for on March 28, 2022.
In the summer of 1943, Girard was assigned to the 68th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force. On August 1, 1943, the B-24 Liberator aircraft on which Girard was serving as the co-pilot 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, north of Bucharest, Romania.
Girard’s remains were not identified following the war. The remains which could not be identified were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.
Following the war, 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 Bolovan Cemetery, and those remains were permanently interred at Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery – both in Belgium.
In 2017, the DPAA started exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation TIDAL WAVE losses. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for examination and identification.
To identify Girard’s remains, scientists from the DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.
Girard’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 World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Girard will be buried in West on June 4. For family and funeral information, you can contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
The DPAA says it is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving, you can visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Girard’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000LlLyEAK.