ST. LOUIS— A World War II soldier will be buried in St. Louis. Melvin B. Meyer, 25, joined the 390th Bombardment Squadron in 1944. His body was found near Leipzig, Germany, on September 9, 2022. He will be returning home to Pattonville, Missouri. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) helped find his body.
Meyer was shot down in May 1944. He was a B-17G Flying Fortress bombardier during a massive attack. The bomber was shot down by enemy jets 28 miles northeast of Leipzig.
Six of the 10 crew members escaped before the plane crashed near Horst, but Meyer and the other four were killed. A local cemetery was thought to have buried the crash victims.
A year after the crash, Meyer was declared dead because there was no evidence of his surviving the war. One crew member’s bones were found in a Horst cemetery in September 1946.
The cemetery couldn’t investigate after 1950 because ties with the Soviet Union, which dominated this section of Germany, were deteriorating. On April 21, 1953, Meyer was declared unrecoverable.
In 2015, a landowner allowed the DPAA to excavate a crash site that was discovered in 2012. The site was confirmed to be a B-17 crash. History Flight, Inc. excavated the site for the DPAA from July 17 to August 12, 2019. After finding human remains, Meyer was identified using dental, anthropological, physical, and circumstantial data.