Sandyville, WV soldier who died in WWII plane crash to be buried Saturday

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JACKSON COUNTY, WV - A military burial service will be held on Saturday, October 14th for a Jackson County soldier who died in a plane crash in World War II.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on Tuesday that the remains of U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Clarence L. Dragoo, 21, of Sandyville, West Virginia, have been found in Italy and identified, and are being returned home.

Dragoo's funeral will be held Saturday, October 14th, at 11:00 A.M., at the Waybright Funeral Home in Ripley.

A military burial will follow in his hometown of Sandyville.

On Feb. 28, 1945, Dragoo and ten other crewmen on a B-24J Liberator aircraft left Grottaglie Army Air Base, Italy, for a combat mission targeting the Isarc-Albes railroad bridge in northern Italy.

The bridge was part of Brennan Route used by Germans to move personnel and equipment into and out of Italy.

After the bombing run, as the group of planes flew to a rally point, witnesses saw Dragoo's plane had skimmed the ountain tops with at least two damaged engines.

The plane was last seen near Lake Wiezen in Austria.

No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft.

Based on this information, Dragoo was reported missing in action.

Five of the 11 crewmembers on the plane, which was believed to have crashed in the north Adriatic Sea, were later recovered and identified.

On August 18, 2013, an Italian citizen reported the discovery of possible remains in an underwater aircraft wreck site off the coast of Grado, Italy.

On September 22, 2013, a group of recreational divers located and photographed the aircraft, associated with Horwitz’ loss.

In May 2014, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (predecessor to DPAA) investigative team worked with the Grado Civil Patrol to excavate the site, however no remains were recovered.

A DPAA underwater team returned to the site from August to October 2015 and completed an excavation.

To identify Dragoo’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and historical evidence.

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