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UNO Mission To Find Tuskegee Airman Missing In Austria Since WWII


A team of more than a dozen University of New Orleans students and experts are heading  to Austria this summer to help locate the remains of a Tuskegee pilot missing since World War Two.

A P-51Mustang flown by a member of the 332nd Fighter Group, associated with the famed “Tuskegee Airmen,” went missing near the end of World War Two. Sixty-six members of the African-American group were killed in action.   

New information was reported recently about the location of a crash in southern Austria. Debris could have been hauled away. The pilot’s name is being withheld until information leads to a positive identification. It’s up to the family if that information is ever released.

UNO anthropology professor Ryan Gray has supervised field trips through the school for five years. This is the first road trip. 

“In this case we have a pretty specific location on which we can focus our efforts. So we’re going to start out by surveying that location and mapping everything in the vicinity of it, and doing a metal detector survey to try to figure out the extent of the crash site. Once we’re finished with that, then we’ll actually start excavations," he said.

He heads over next month to meet with team members from the University of Innsbruck. The UNO students arrive in July and work for about five weeks, along with experts from the World War Two Museum. Anything they find will be turned over to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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