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2LT Donald Eugene Underwood
Monument

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2LT Donald Eugene Underwood Veteran

Birth
Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Death
21 Jan 1944 (aged 23)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Monument
Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA Add to Map
Plot
Tablets of the Missing, Court 5, USAAF, WWII (Recovered)
Memorial ID
View Source
Son of George Ford Underwood & Rosely Byrnes

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-738751
38th Bomber Squadron, 30th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Michigan
Died: 21-Jan-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial
Honolulu, Hawaii
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Donald E. Underwood, killed during World War II, has now accounted for (14 Sep 2017).

On Jan. 21, 1944, Underwood was a member of the 38th Bombardment Squadron, (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group, stationed at Hawkins Field, Helen Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, when his B-24J bomber crashed shortly after take-off. Witnesses noted the plane was unable to gain altitude and crashed into the water, killing all 10 members on board.


DETROIT (AP) — 09/14/2017: A Michigan airman whose plane crashed during World War II has been identified among the remains recently discovered on a Pacific Ocean island, the U.S. government said Thursday.

The Detroit-area family of 2nd Lt. Donald Underwood got the news last weekend during a meeting with the Defense Department. A 90-year-old brother, George, was in disbelief.

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"He threw his neck back and put his hankie to his mouth," said son-in-law Mike Mehall. "It was a complete surprise. We were starting to think we were running out of luck."

Underwood, who was 23, was a member of the Army Air Forces during World War II. He was aboard a bomber known as the "Miss Bee Haven" when it crashed in shallow water after takeoff from the Gilbert Islands in January 1944. Bodies were recovered and buried.

The area now is the country of Kiribati. Three months ago, Underwood's remains were discovered along with others on Betio island by a Florida-based group, History Flight. The group, which searches for the remains of U.S. war dead, contacted the Defense Department.

Underwood's dog tags were among the remains. His identity was confirmed by the government through further investigation, said Katie Rasdorf, a historian and volunteer with History Flight.

"I was shocked, really. This has been going on for years," said George Underwood, who turns 91 next week.

Donald Underwood grew up in River Rouge, near Detroit, and was an electrician at Ford Motor, where co-workers called him "Sparky." Two months after the plane crash, the pilot who survived wrote a letter to Underwood's mother, describing the bombardier as willing "to go to any risks" to attack the enemy.

George Underwood kept a rosary and a picture of his brother in his bedroom, praying that his remains would someday be found and returned to the U.S.

In March, with no progress reported, the family held a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery. Underwood now will be buried at Arlington. His medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mehall praised the staff of U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell for working closely with the family.

"Seventy-three years later," he said, "Donald will be coming home."
Son of George Ford Underwood & Rosely Byrnes

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-738751
38th Bomber Squadron, 30th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Michigan
Died: 21-Jan-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial
Honolulu, Hawaii
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Donald E. Underwood, killed during World War II, has now accounted for (14 Sep 2017).

On Jan. 21, 1944, Underwood was a member of the 38th Bombardment Squadron, (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group, stationed at Hawkins Field, Helen Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, when his B-24J bomber crashed shortly after take-off. Witnesses noted the plane was unable to gain altitude and crashed into the water, killing all 10 members on board.


DETROIT (AP) — 09/14/2017: A Michigan airman whose plane crashed during World War II has been identified among the remains recently discovered on a Pacific Ocean island, the U.S. government said Thursday.

The Detroit-area family of 2nd Lt. Donald Underwood got the news last weekend during a meeting with the Defense Department. A 90-year-old brother, George, was in disbelief.

Related Searches
South Pacific Islands Pacific Island Magellan Visited In 1521

"He threw his neck back and put his hankie to his mouth," said son-in-law Mike Mehall. "It was a complete surprise. We were starting to think we were running out of luck."

Underwood, who was 23, was a member of the Army Air Forces during World War II. He was aboard a bomber known as the "Miss Bee Haven" when it crashed in shallow water after takeoff from the Gilbert Islands in January 1944. Bodies were recovered and buried.

The area now is the country of Kiribati. Three months ago, Underwood's remains were discovered along with others on Betio island by a Florida-based group, History Flight. The group, which searches for the remains of U.S. war dead, contacted the Defense Department.

Underwood's dog tags were among the remains. His identity was confirmed by the government through further investigation, said Katie Rasdorf, a historian and volunteer with History Flight.

"I was shocked, really. This has been going on for years," said George Underwood, who turns 91 next week.

Donald Underwood grew up in River Rouge, near Detroit, and was an electrician at Ford Motor, where co-workers called him "Sparky." Two months after the plane crash, the pilot who survived wrote a letter to Underwood's mother, describing the bombardier as willing "to go to any risks" to attack the enemy.

George Underwood kept a rosary and a picture of his brother in his bedroom, praying that his remains would someday be found and returned to the U.S.

In March, with no progress reported, the family held a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery. Underwood now will be buried at Arlington. His medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mehall praised the staff of U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell for working closely with the family.

"Seventy-three years later," he said, "Donald will be coming home."

Inscription

2 LT - 38 BOMB SQ 30 BOMB GP (H) - MICH (Brass wreath added in 2018 indicates remains recovered)

Gravesite Details

Body identified 9/14/2017




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