Airmen fly, pay homage to fallen aviator

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dakota Bergl
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
Army Air Corps 1st Lt. Robert McIntosh, 27th Fighter Squadron pilot, was honored Sept. 29 with a flyover in Tipton, Indiana by a formation of F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft.

McIntosh was a fighter pilot during World War II whose plane, a P-38 Lightning, disappeared in Italy on May 12, 1944.

McIntosh’s sisters, Jeannine Baker-McIntosh and Patricia Talley, both said that they were happy to have closure about what happened to their brother and are very glad the Air Force did so much to honor his memory and sacrifice.

“We are so pleased that he finally made his way home to us,” said Baker-McIntosh. “We are a military family from the word go and our mother and father would be so happy to know what happened to him. Mom had hope that his remains would be found until the day she died.”

“We are ecstatic that the Air Force is putting forth all this effort for our brother,” said Talley, echoing her sister’s thoughts. “We are amazed by the deep respect that is being shown by the Air Force.”

The Raptors selected to perform the flyover were from the same 27th FS McIntosh flew with. The 27th FS is now based out of joint base Langley-Eustis, Virginia and flying the F-22.

Capt. Justin, 27th FS pilot, one of the pilots who performed the flyover, said he was honored to participate in the event.

“It’s awesome we have the opportunity to give him the respect that he deserves,” said Justin. “We have the privilege of being the oldest fighter squadron in the Air Force. All of that history makes me proud of my job, my squadron, Lieutenant McIntosh for his sacrifice and proud of the Air Force and what we do.”

A KC-135R Stratotanker from Grissom helped support the flyover by refueling the F-22s enroute to the ceremony and flyover site in Tipton.

“We are happy to play a small part in honoring a fallen aviator,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “Aviators, whether they be past or present, are a fraternity of brothers and we are pleased to play a role in his memorial.”

McIntosh’s plane was the last in a formation that was returning to base following a mission. Due to the poor weather conditions at the time the formation was told to fly up over the storm however McIntosh never made it above the clouds, his plane was last seen diving through the storm.

In September 2013, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (now DPAA) received information from private citizens regarding the partial excavation of a crash site in Santa Cristina, Italy. The citizens found evidence which confirmed this was McIntosh’s crash site.

In August 2015, a DPAA recovery team helped excavate the crash site.

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.

The 27th Fighter Squadron has been active since World War I, at the time called the 27th Aero Squadron, flying various aircraft. Most recently the 27th FS has been given the task of flying the F-22 Raptor.

The F-22 Raptor entered service in December of 2005 and was designed to be an air superiority fighter. The F-22 is considered critical to tactical air power by the Air Force. The F-22 Raptor fact sheet is available here.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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