Fallen World War II Pilot Deserves to Come Home
News| | By Steven Lerner
Every May, Americans celebrate Memorial Day to remember the brave men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. But for 73 years, a World War II solider who paid the ultimate sacrifice still hasn’t returned home.
In January 1944, a B-24 bomber piloted by Major Harry Musinski crashed during a routine cargo mission on the border between India and Tibet. Musinski, a Massachusetts native, was filling in for Roger Haley, the plane’s original pilot, who nicknamed the bomber Haley’s Comet.
Two years after the crash, the U.S. Government declared Musinski and the 11 passengers dead. However, authorities never recovered the bodies or the plane.
The Crash Site Is Found
In January 2011, Arizona-based adventurer Clayton Kuhles of MIA Recoveries located the bomber in the province of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Kuhles discovered the bomber nearly 11,000 feet up the side of a mountain.
“The plane is in large pieces,” Kuhles told Massachusetts newspaper Sentinel & Enterprise. “There is no evidence of fire or melting, which is very fortunate because all these planes used 100 octane fuel and were highly explosive.”
During the exploration of the wreckage, Kuhles found personal artifacts like clothing and shoes. However, he removed nothing from the crash site.
“They are all still there,” Kuhles told Sentinel & Enterprise. “I left everything in place, I did not bring anything out of that site. If I do go back, I will take remains out and leave them with the embassy in Calcutta.”
Kuhles contacted the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to recover the remains. As of 2017, there is no update from the DPAA regarding this case.
Harry Musinski Gains a Local Advocate
Historian and author Carla Charter — a native of Musinski’s hometown of Gardner, Massachusetts — first became enamored with Musinski after conducting research in her local library.
“In his high school yearbook it stated, ‘Playing football helps ‘Moosh’ (Musinski) with the Girl Scouts as well as to win many friends,” Charter, a former Girl Scout, wrote in an August 2016 blog. “In the class he bequeathed ‘A Girl Scout manual to read while he is a hermit at Snake Pond.”
Musinski’s mother, Josephine, lost her husband and her daughter around the same time that her son went missing. As a mom, Charter felt an “instantaneous” connection with her.
“The strength she must have had to lose her whole family within three years and continue moving forward is almost unfathomable to me,” Charter wrote in her blog. “I needed to bring her son back home for her and the rest of the crew home to their families as well. There was no question. Her family had become mine and so my historical journey began once again.”
Hopefully, Harry Musinski will return home to be in his final resting place. Hopefully.
Your Daily Dish reached out to the DPAA for a comment.