The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Joseph E. Finneran, 22, of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 9, 2019.
(This identification was initially published Aug. 13, 2019.)
In the summer of 1943, Finneran was a bombardier assigned to the 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), known as the Pyramidiers. On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24D aircraft on which Finneran served crashed as a result of enemy anti-aircraft fire during Operation Tidal Wave, the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania. Of the Americans killed, only 27 could be identified, not including Finneran. The remains that could not be identified were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.
Following the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel. The teams disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. One set that could not be identified was designated Unknown X-5300 Neuville, and reinterred into the American Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.
In 2017, DPAA began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation Tidal Wave losses. On Aug. 28, 2017, Unknown X-5300 Neuville was disinterred and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Finneran’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary- Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.
For family information, contact the Army Service Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
Finneran will be buried Nov. 9, 2019, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.