New Steam in Search for Lost Medal of Honor Recipient

And his 10 fellow crew members, who went down near Papua New Guinea in 1943
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2017 9:33 AM CST
In this undated file photo provided by the US Air Force, Brig. Gen. Kenneth N. Walker, of Glendale, Calif., is shown in uniform.   (United States Air Force via AP, File)

(Newser) – A search for a US military aircraft that disappeared near Papua New Guinea during World War II is getting renewed attention ahead of the 75th anniversary of its disappearance. The B-17, nicknamed the San Antonio Rose, was flying on a mission to bomb a Japanese shipping convoy on Jan. 5, 1943, when it was attacked by enemy fighters. All 11 crew members aboard the bomber were lost, including Brig. Gen. Kenneth Walker, the highest-ranking recipient of the Medal of Honor still listed as missing from World War II. His son, Douglas Walker, 84, of New Canaan, Conn., has been pushing for years to get the US military to search for the crash site. The US Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution recognizing the lost crew and encouraging the continued effort to recover their remains.

The Pentagon agency that accounts for the nation's war dead killed on foreign soil said it plans to continue work on the case in 2018. "This case is particularly difficult because of the terrain," a rep for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency tells the AP. "The original thought was the plane had landed in water. There may have been some evidence it landed inland. It's a mountainous area, very remote. Very few people actually live around there." Some searches have been conducted in the eastern section of New Britain, a jungle-covered, mountainous island that's part of Papua New Guinea. An April ground exploration identified a wreckage area where the San Antonio Rose could have disappeared, but a follow-up mission was not able to locate the crash site.

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