Episode 7: Two Kassel MIAs identified

The Kassel Mission of Sept. 27, 1944 was not only one of World War 2's most spectacular battles, it was also one of the most unusual, in that it took place between 20,000 and 26,000 feet above what would become the dividing line between East and West Germany. As a result, half of the 25 bombers that were shot down crashed east of the border, and the crash sites were not accessible to anyone from the West until the German reunification in 1990. Of the 117 American airmen who died in the battle, eight were still listed as Missing in Action, including five from the Hansen crew. Just recently, the DPAA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) announced that through advanced DNA testing of remains, it has identified two of those crew members, Technical Sergeant James Triplett of Spokane, Washington; and Second Lieutenant Porter Pile of Harlingen, Texas. The two will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a special ceremony on October 31. In this episode of the Kassel Mission Chronicles, hosts Linda Alice Dewey and Aaron Elson discuss the efforts of the Kassel Mission Historical Society to reach out to family members of airmen who perished on the flight, and to coordinate with the DPAA on several active cases involving the six remaining MIAs. In addition, Aaron shares a recording of P-51 pilot Bob Volkman who tells of a dramatic dogfight between fighter pilot Bill Beyer and a noted German ace. Thank you for listening, and be sure to visit the Kassel Mission web site, kasselmission.org. Also look for Aaron's oral history of the mission, "Up Above the Clouds to Die," available at amazon and aaronelson.com; and check out Linda's great artwork at LindaAliceDewey.com, where you can order notecards, calendars and many other items featuring pastels of Leelenau County, Northern Michigan and Arizona.