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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell Statement on Return of WWII Lieutenant Donald Underwood’s Remains to Michigan

November 20, 2017
Press Release

DEARBORN, MI – U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) released the following statement as the remains of 2nd Lieutenant Donald Underwood, a pilot listed as KIA/MIA since World War II, were returned to his family today in Michigan. Dingell’s office worked closely with Lt. Underwood’s brother George Underwood, 91, of Wyandotte, and his son-in-law Mike Mehall, as well as the non-profit organization History Flight, to locate, recover and identify Lt. Underwood’s remains. Lt. Underwood’s remains will be transferred to Arlington National Cemetery for burial on November 28th.

“Today, more than 73 years after Lt. Underwood was lost in World War II, his family is able to bring him home. This is a day of joy, of gratitude for Lt. Underwood’s service to our country, and a day of closure for his family, who never gave up hope. We must never forget the men and women in uniform who are missing in action, prisoners of war, and the individuals who have sacrificed so much for this nation. May this day bring hope to all families who are waiting for someone they love to return. I am grateful to those whose dedication made this day possible, and honored to have worked alongside Lt. Underwood’s family to help bring him home and honor his sacrifice in service to our country.”

In 2013, former Congressman John Dingell’s office was contacted by the family of Lt. Underwood who was originally listed as KIA/MIA after his airplane crashed during the Battle of Tarawa on January 21, 1944. Through many years of letters and communications the family sought desperately to have Lt. Underwood’s body returned to them without success. Congressman John Dingell’s office, and then Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s office, worked closely with the family, History Flight and the Department of Defense, to ensure the remains were identified and returned to the Underwood family.