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Remains of WWII U.S. Army Air Force bombardier to be laid to rest in Mississippi

Photo courtesy of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

The remains of a Mississippi soldier who served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II will finally be returned to his home state on Friday.

On September 7, 2022, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Second Lieutenant Theodore Frank Scarborough, who served in the 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group during WWII.

Scarborough was a bombardier on one of the 127 B-24 Liberators that took off from airfields in Libya for Operation TIDAL WAVE on August 1, 1943. The operation — which was a bombing raid against the oil refineries around Ploiești, Romania — was successful, but cost the lives of hundreds of USAAF airmen.

51 of the 127 Liberator planes failed to return following the operation, including Scarborough’s. His remains were not identified following the war.

The majority of the U.S. airmen who were killed during the operation were interred by Romanian citizens into the Bolovan Cemetery in Ploiești.

During postwar operations there, the American Graves Registration Command exhumed unknown remains that were eventually reinterred at Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery.

In 2017, DPAA began exhuming those unknowns for comparison with the unaccounted-for airmen lost during Operation TIDAL WAVE.

The laboratory analysis and the totality of the circumstantial evidence available established an association between one set of these unknown remains and Scarborough. Scarborough is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia.

Now, after nearly eight decades, Second Lieutenant Scarborough’s remains will be laid to rest at the Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home in Hattiesburg.

Scarborough’s remains are anticipated to arrive at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport at approximately 6:10 p.m. on Friday. After plane side honors, the Patriot Guard Riders of Mississippi, along with law enforcement, will escort Scarborough out of town to honor him and his family.

It is requested that the public line the roads, where safe, from the airport to Highway 49 South to show their support for this American hero.

In the next few weeks, Scarborough will be laid to rest with full military honors.

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