Laid to rest: Fighter pilot remains found 72 years later

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Daylena Ricks
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Seventy-two years ago, an Army Air Forces P-38 Lightning pilot from the 27th Fighter Squadron departed on a strafing mission from Foggia Airfield, Italy; he never returned.

After several attempts to locate the missing pilot, the remains of 1st Lt. Robert L. McIntosh have finally been found and were laid to rest in his hometown of Tipton, Indiana, Aug. 13, 2016.

McIntosh joined the Army Air Forces on August 4, 1942.  After flight training, he flew over South America, Africa, Sardinia and lastly, Italy, where he saw the most action. 

During his career, McIntosh earned a distinguished flying cross, was credited with downing four possible Nazi airplanes and was awarded the air medal with six oak leaf clusters.

Following an air battle over Bologna, Italy, 21-year old McIntosh missed his target and crashed his aircraft due to poor visibility during bad weather.

In August 2015, a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recovery team excavated his crash site, with help from Archeologi dell’Aria, an Italian non-profit organization.

A single bone fragment was found. 

To identify McIntosh’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched two sisters, as well as dental and anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, more than 400,000 died and 73,000 remain unaccounted for.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at