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Old 17th February 2017, 17:11
aaatripp aaatripp is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Newport, RI
Posts: 164
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Re: 22 Sep 1941 - Maax Hammer 'Lest We Forget

The three families of John Dean Armstrong, Maax C. Hammer, Jr. and Peter William Atkinson were notified last spring (2016) that the remains thought possibly to be their AVG relatives which were buried in the Punchbowl in March 22-23, 1949 and rested in graves marked UNKNOWN for the last 67 years were soon to be disinterred for the purpose of DNA matching at The Lab of DPAA. On April 11, 2016, in ceremonies at the Punchbowl, the remains were disinterred and transported to The Lab at Hickam AFB. Then there was an 8 1/2 month wait for word by the families......indeed, it was a quiet & hopeful holiday season.

Then came the word on January 4th:
The families of John Dean Armstrong, Maax C. Hammer, Jr. and Peter William Atkinson have been notified of the positive identification of the remains of their family members who served with the AVG. (This includes Ms. Mary Margaret Atkinson, baby sister of Pete Atkinson and last living sibling of the 3 AVG)

These are the remains that were recovered from St. Luke's Anglican Church Cemetery by an Army Graves Registration Service team in 1947, processed in Barrackpore, India and later transferred to the Punchbowl Cemetery on Oahu, Hawaii....where they lay for 67 years as Unknowns (X-633, X-634, X-635). With the help of many contacts from the three families and assistance from JPAC/DPAA personnel at the numerous Family Member Updates (FMU) over the past many years, DPAA was persuaded to disinter 3 of the 4 graves in question on April 11, 2016. DNA samples were immediately sent to the DNA ID Lab and the families have been anxiously awaiting news of the results for all this, with happy results.

The three families of Armstrong, Hammer & Atkinson and indeed the entire AVG Flying Tiger Assn. are very grateful for the diligent work of former JPAC SE Asia historian, Mr. Ken Tilley. Without his professional expertise, dedication to the lost AVG and their families, and his persistence in plowing through a sadly flawed set of JPAC policies & internal procedures this endpoint would likely never have happened.

Xie, Xie Ken....DING HAO!! (Thank you Ken....Very Good!! <in Mandarin>)

To the Army Casualty Office, we say thanks to John Gantz and Greg Gardner in the Past Conflicts Repatriation Branch at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Their efforts along with other staff members during the FMUs are much appreciated. Also to Lt. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, USA (Ret.), former Director of DPAA, we thank you and your staff for their efforts and assistance. Sir, your leadership moved DPAA to the point where these disinterrments were finally possible...thank you!

And to our dear long lost Tigers, we say with affection----

Armie, Maax & Pete--75 years is a long time, but you're comin' home boys!

Funerals for all 3 Tigers are being scheduled for this spring in Kansas, Illinois & West Virginia.

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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