Unfortunately, AVG # 4, John J. Dean, is still at a dead end as far DPAA is concerned after the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs requested that no further efforts be made to recover the wreckage og John's C-47, located on Cang Shan Mountain near Dali. There still is some hope for a joint team to investigate but no efforts are anticipated at this time.
Wish there was more we can do, but my daughter is meeting with the 2nd Secretary of the Embassy's Chinese Embassy to give some added information and push a little more. Guess it can't hurt.
4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
AVG #4 is not John Dean. It is the actual designation found in documents in the National Archives with respect to the four AVG exhumed from the St. Luke's Anglican Church Cemetery in Toungoo, Burma in 1947 by an Army Graves Registration Service team. AVG #4 is also known as X-636 and was buried at the Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in 1948 along with AVG #1,2,3 (X-633, 634, 635). AVG #4 has not been selected for disinterrment at this time due to forensic reasons. It may be disinterred at a later date.
We thought that it might indeed be AVG member Thomas Jefferson Cole of Clayton, MO who was lost on a mission to Moulmein, Burma on Jan. 30, 1942. Our receipt of a REPORT OF THE DEATH OF AN AMERICAN filed by the American Consul Troy Perkins of the American Consulate in Kunming, China on March 31, 1942 now seems to preclude that possibility since it states that Cole crashed in enemy occupied territory. As the Imperial Japanese Army advanced and did not yield territory in this stage of its conquest of Burma, it is highly unlikely that Allied forces could have gotten to Cole's crash site to retrieve his remains. This could have been done only after the Allies retook Burma later in the war.
Another important consideration is the fact that the Japanese occupied Toungoo, Burma on March 19, 1942. Any AVG deaths after this date would have been buried elsewhere. All AVG deaths prior to 19 March have been accounted for.....this is the mystery.....who is AVG #4 ??
Not to worry, Bob. Just wanted you to have all the details.....
The AVG Flying Tigers Association is still committed to seeing the eventual return of all the missing Tigers.....including the three who were flying for CNAC (Dean, Mikelson and Allen Wright). We are working with DPAA and will continue to lobby for the search, identification & return of our guys.....that would include your relative, co-pilot James Browne of course. Don't give up!
WE ARE MOVING AHEAD IN THE PROCESS TO RETURN 3 AVG TO THEIR FAMILIES!
The families are being notified this morning that the 3 presumed AVG (AVG #1, X-633) (AVG #2, X-634) (AVG #3, X-635) who have been buried in UNKNOWN graves at the Punchbowl Ntl. Cemetery in Hawaii for the last 67 years are scheduled for disinterrment this coming Monday at 0630 (6:30am local time)......that's 1130 EDT. The remains will then be taken to the lab for processing.
Thank you for your support over the years and for your kind words to the families!
This event will be almost two years after the families first learned of the possibility that their lost Tigers may have been moved to American soil many years ago and that they could possibly be identified and returned to their families.
Thanks, Bob. We must also remember the many family members, government officials and other kind folks who have helped us over at least the last 11 years. We even had two representatives actually go to Toungoo to search out the cemetery and possible new gravesites for our Tigers. We did not know at the time that the AVG had already been moved in 1947 !!
Warm thanks & recognition must be given to Mr. Ken Tilley, a retired military historian, who now continues his valuable work as a civilian for our military (and at the former JPAC).
Just to let you know that, when I meet with US ARMY HRC and DPAA representatives in May in Boston, MA the AVG Flying Tigers Association plans to request an open dialogue with DPAA regarding the status of the 12 other AVG Flying Tigers who have not been returned to their families. This would certainly include AVG #4 (X-636) who is also buried at the Punchbowl in Hawaii.
FYI, the disinterrments scheduled for Monday morning will be conducted privately and will not be viewable by the public....out of respect for the privacy of the families.
I know you will include John Dean in your discussions, maybe get some feedback on their status with CNAC # 60. The Chinese requested, several months ago that all efforts directed toward recovery be terminated. Then they suggested that a joint DPAA effort with an outside contractor might be considered. Could you see if DPAA is pursuing that at all?
4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
With warmest thanks to the officials and staff at the DPAA, Dept. of the Army and U.S. Air Force we are happy to report that the 3 disinterrments took place as scheduled on Monday morning April 11th.
Our group of 3 AVG families was ably represented by Atkinson relatives Patrick & Siri Moore to be present at this very solemn ceremony. DPAA brass turned out and paid respect to our Tiger loved ones. We will include photos when they become available.
Now, our lost Tigers' remains are at the Lab and await processing for a DNA comparison with samples that family members have submitted over the past seven years. Indeed we are hopeful that these remains are our lost Tigers.
Thanks so much to our AVG Forum members for your interest over the years.
Please check POST #22 for the updated status on all lost Tigers.
One of the challenges facing the staff at The Lab in Hawaii will be the effects of the formalin, used in the embalming process, upon the DNA matching process.
So, the 3 AVG families await word on the status of the DNA process over the coming weeks & months. The advances in this science give the families reason to be optimistic of success in identifying our AVG relatives.