An Army Air Forces pilot has been identified decades after he was killed in World War II.
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. George W. Winger was accounted for Jan. 24, 2023, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Winger was assigned to the 66th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force in the summer of 1943. He was serving as the pilot on a B-24 Liberator when enemy anti-aircraft fire hit the aircraft and it crashed on Aug. 1, 1943.
At the time of the crash, Winger was flying in Operation Tidal Wave, a low-level bombing mission that targeted oil fields and refineries in Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania. The goal was to limit Axis powers’ access to fuel. Of the 178 bombers that took off from Libya for the mission, less than 90 returned to Benghazi. Hundreds of airmen died. The U.S. Army Air Forces did not attempt a low-level mission against German air defenses again.
Winger’s remains were not identified after the war and were buried with other Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.
The accounting agency began exhuming remains believed to be American service members killed in Operation Tidal Wave in 2017, moving them to a laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.