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Remains of WWII Pilot Returned to Texas for Burial After 71 Years

HOUSTON, Texas — The remains of a WWII pilot missing since his plane disappeared in 1945 were returned to Texas on Wednesday for burial with full military honors. The remains were found at the crash-site of a C-47B cargo plane in Malaysia in 2010.

Army honor guard escorts the remains of Flight Officer Judon Baskett after arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. (Photo: KTRK ABC13 Video Screenshot)

Army honor guard escorts the remains of Flight Officer Judon Baskett after arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. (Photo: KTRK ABC13 Video Screenshot)

Army Air Forces Flight Officer Judson B. Baskett, a Houston, Texas, native, departed from Singapore on a flight to Butterworth, Malaysia, on August 12, 1945. About an hour after his takeoff he reported his position over Malacca. That was the last contact Army officials had with Baskett and his flight crew, information obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) revealed.

Officials carried out an unsuccessful search for the Texan and his two aircrew members. In March 1946, a suspected crash site was located about 45 miles south of the Butterworth destination airfield but the crash site inaccessible because of the dense jungle forestation and wild animals. It was later determined not to be the site of the crash and the aircrew’s status was changed to deceased in November 1946.

Nearly twenty years later, a U.S. Air Attachè was notified by the Malaysian Ministry of Defense that they had discovered a crash site of a WWII aircraft. An investigation discovered physical evidence, but no personal effects of the aircrew members. An investigation by what is now known as the DPAA, in April 2010, visited the crash site and found proof that the aircraft was actually the missing C-47 that was piloted in 1945 by Flight Officer Baskett. Two years later an historical team unearthed personal effects from the scene of the crash.

A team of Malaysian and American investigators returned to the scene in September 2015 and found what they believed to be the remains of the aircrew members. The DPAA used dental records and anthropological analyses to match Basketts’ military records. Other circumstantial and material evidence helped investigators determine they had found the remains of Flight Officer Baskett.

The flag-draped casket carrying the remains arrived at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. The landing marked the beginning of the end of the airman’s nearly 10,000-mile journey that was 71 years in the making.

Flight Officer Baskett was met by an Army honor guard and received a police escort to a funeral home where final arrangements will be made, KTRK ABC13 reported Wednesday morning.

His family and a grateful nation will lay the officer’s remains to rest with full military honors on Friday, 71 years to the day from the ill-fated flight where he gave his life for this country.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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