Remains found in Romania identified as Cache County man who died during WWII

U.S. Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Max. W. Lower. Photo Courtesy: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

CACHE COUNTY, Utah, Nov. 14, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials announced Thursday that remains found in Romania have been identified as a man from Lewiston killed during World War II.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) said in a press release that U.S. Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Max. W. Lower, 23, was accounted for Oct. 9. Lower will be buried on Nov. 23 in his hometown.

“In the summer of 1943, Lower was assigned to the 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force,” the press release said. “On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 aircraft on which Lower was the radio operator 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.”

Following the operation, the Romanian government reported they had recovered 216 Americans killed in the raid, 27 of whom were identifiable, the press release said. Lower’s remains were not among the 27. Those not 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, the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel, disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification,” the press release said.

“Each unidentified set of remains was designated Unknown 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. That year, 15 sets of remains were disinterred and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Lower’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA (Y-STR) 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,” the press release said.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war, officials said. Currently there are 72,638 service members still unaccounted for from World War II, of which approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly recoverable.

Lower’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.