Philip man killed in World War II finally identified

B-24 Liberators coming of the target during the Aug. 1, 1943 raid on oil fields and refineries in Ploiesti, Romania. Earl F. Ferguson of Philip, a co-pilot in the B-24 nicknamed “Hells Angels,” and the rest of his crew were killed when their bomber was hit by anti-aircraft flak and crashed. (USAF photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - A Philip man killed during World War II has finally been accounted for, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

The remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Earl F. Ferguson, 26, were identified Sept. 30, 2019 but results were not released until Tuesday.

Ferguson was a pilot assigned to the 329th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force.

On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 bomber Ferguson was the co-pilot on crashed after being hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire during Operation Tidal Wave. This was the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania.

Ferguson’s remains were not identified after the war and were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti.

After the war, American military remains were disinterred for identification. One set that couldn’t be identified was reburied in a military cemetery in Belgium. In 2017, those remains were once again disinterred and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis. They turned out to be of Furguson.

To identify Furguson’s remains, DPAA scientists used dental and anthropological analysis; as well as mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Ferguson's name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence
American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in
Impruneta, Italy; along with others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Furguson will be buried in Philip but according to DPAA, no date has been set at the time this story was posted.