Remains of US Airman from World War II repatriated

by Lt. Col. Mark Hersant
603rd Air Mobility Division

Aircrew members of the 37th Airlift Squadron from Ramstein flew to Sarajevo International Airport, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sept. 27 to repatriate the remains of Staff Sgt. Meceslaus T. Miaskiewicz, a B-17 gunner whose aircraft crashed in May 1944.  

The crash took place after Miaskiewicz’s 347th Bomb Squadron formation flew into heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire while returning from a mission to bomb oil fields in Ploiesti, Romania. His aircraft, the “Daisy Mae,” had its nose section blown off and though three Airmen ejected safely, Miaskiewicz and the rest of the crew didn’t survive the crash.

The repatriation mission was a scheduling success because of the close, effective coordination between 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, European Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center, Tanker Airlift Control Center, and the 86th Airlift Wing. By adding a leg to an existing C-130J channel mission, these organizations ensured the fallen Airman received the prompt, dignified service and respects every Airman deserves.

Miaskiewicz’s flag-draped casket was loaded onto a C-130J Super Hercules in Sarajevo, and after a stop at Ramstein, he was flown to Dover Air Force Base, Del. He was received with great dignity and honor along the way, and almost seven decades after he died in World War II, the remains of Miaskiewicz were finally returned to his relatives in Massachusetts.