CHESTER, Ill. – The remains of a Chester, Illinois, native killed in combat during World War II will be interred in his hometown next month.
U.S. Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. James Howie was a radio operator assigned to the 345th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Howie was serving aboard a B-24 bomber on Aug. 1, 1943, on a mission to destroy oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, in Nazi-controlled Romania. Howie’s plane was struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire and went down.
Howie was 24. His remains could not be identified following the war.
Unidentified remains were then buried as unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.
In the aftermath of World War II, the American Graves Registration Command disinterred the remains from the cemetery, so they could be identified. More than 80 sets of remains could not be identified. As a result, they were interred at Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, both located in Belgium.
In 2017, the DPAA began exhuming remains of unidentified airmen killed during the operation. Those remains were sent to a military laboratory in Nebraska. To identify remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological, mitochondrial DNA, and Y chromosome analysis.
Howie was finally identified and accounted for on Aug. 23, 2022.
Howie’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, in Impruneta, Italy, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed beside his name to indicate that he has been accounted for.
Burial services for Technical Sgt. Howie will take place on June 3, at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, in Chester.