WWII Airman Identified

Military Scientists have positively identified the second WWII era airman found in High Sierra ice.

In October of 2005, climbers on Mt. Mendel, just over the Sierra Crest from Bishop, found the remains of a WWII era airman still attached to his unopened parachute. After months of research and DNA work, Military Scientists identified the remains as Leo Mustonen from Brainerd, Minnesota. Mustonen was one of four Army Air Corp servicemen killed on a training flight on November 18, 1942.

In August of 2007, hikers found the remains of a second WWII era airman about 100 feet from where Cadet Mustonen was located. The Defense Department POW/Missing Personnel Office has announced that the second aviator was Cadet Ernest G. Munn, U.S. Army Air Forces, of St. Clairsville, Ohio. Military officials say that the remains will be returned to his family for burial.

Munn was one of four men aboard a routine navigation training flight that departed Mather Field, California, on Nov. 18, 1942. Their AT-7 Navigator aircraft carried about five hours of fuel. When the plane did not return to base, a search was initiated. It was suspended about a month later with no results.

A Sierra Club hiker found wreckage from the plane in 1947, but until the past two summers no remains have been found. Two more airmen went down on that ill fated flight years ago. Only time will tell if the glacier will allow the other two soldiers to go home.

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