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WWII pilot MIA for 72 years laid to rest at Normandy American Cemetery

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Anne Ortiz
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. William J. McGowan went missing in action on June 6, 1946 just inland of the coast of Normandy. The crash site of his P-47 was in a tiny French village, Moon-sur-Elle, but his remains were considered unrecoverable. Seventy-two years later in 2018, with assistance from a team from St. Mary’s University Forensic Aviation Archaeological Field School, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency was finally able to positively identify remains from the site at Moon-sur-Elle and account for McGowan. On July 9, 2022, McGowan was laid to rest with full military honors at the Normandy American Cemetery in the presence of family. McGowan was a pilot assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group, which is now the 366th Fighter Wing located at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.