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Mighty Eighth Air Force to honor SSgt. William O. Wood
1026 mighty eighth pic
A plane sits outside the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler. - photo by Photo provided.

On Tuesday, August 2nd, the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is lowering its flags in honor of SSgt. William O. Wood (93rd BG/328th BS) for his service to our nation and for his ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom and liberty during Operation Tidal Wave. On Monday, August 1, 2022, SSgt. Wood will be laid to his final resting place at the Tallahassee National Cemetery, 79 years to the day following his death. SSgt. William O. Wood was originally from Valdosta, Georgia. Because the museum is closed on Monday’s our flags will be lowered on Tuesday.

On August 1, 1943, a B-24 Liberator aircraft manned by 25-year-old SSgt. William O. Wood of the United States Army Air Forces' 328th Bombardment Squadron (93rd Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force) was shot down by enemy fire during Operation TIDAL WAVE. This Operation was the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, Romania during WWII. His remains were never accounted for.

During this time, unidentified military members were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.

After WWII, the American Graves Registration Command disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. Despite their efforts, more than 80 unknowns from that cemetery remained unidentified and were later reinterred at American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, both in Belgium.

In 2017, The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation TIDAL WAVE. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.

Scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System employed anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence, mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome DNA, and autosomal DNA analysis to assist with identification.

On May 12, 2022, SSgt. William O. Wood’s remains were identified and accounted for because of the collaborative efforts of the DPAA and the AFMES. His name was previously recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette can now be placed next to his name to indicate he has finally been accounted for.

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