In life, he was known as Technical Sargant (TSgt) Ralph E. Richardson, and he was buried as an unknown in a Belgium cemetery for nearly 80 years. A government agency was ultimately able to identify him in September.
The US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced the news on Friday, as military scientists and researchers continue to identify bodies that were left unidentified in the years following World War II.
Officials said TSgt Richardson was found on September 14, 2022, and his family was only recently informed about the news. A little rosette will also be placed next to his name on the Tablet of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy, indicating that he is still missing.
He was assigned to the 329th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, according to a DPAA news release.
According to sources, TSgt Richardson was a radio operator on a B-24 Liberator bomber that was damaged by an enemy anti-aircraft and crashed on Aug. 1, 1943, during Operation TIDAL WAVE, a huge bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, Romania.
According to a DPAA news release, he was assigned to the 329th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force.
According to reports, TSgt Richardson was a radio operator aboard a B-24 Liberator bomber that was hit by an enemy anti-aircraft and crashed on August 1, 1943, during Operation TIDAL WAVE, a massive bombing campaign against the oil fields and refineries in Ploiesti, Romania.
DPAA said in a statement that TSgt. Richardson’s remains were identified using mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA, as well as circumstantial evidence and anthropological analysis.
Caughman Harman Funeral Home is honored to be handling the burial arrangements for TSgt. Ralph Richardson. He will be buried with full military honors at 1 PM on June 17, 2023, at Elmwood Cemetery, 501 Elmwood Ave., Columbia SC 29201.
The processional will leave Caughman Harman, Lexington Chapel, at noon to process to Elmwood Cemetery.