Tuskegee Airman’s Remains Are Identified, Ending Daughter’s Quest for Answers

Tuskegee Airman’s Remains Are Identified, Ending Daughter’s Quest for Answers
Tuskegee Airman’s Remains Are Identified, Ending Daughter’s Quest for Answers

Determined to learn more about what had happened to him, she tasked a friend who attended the annual Tuskegee Airmen conference to ask others there if they had known her father. That’s how she learned about Robert L. Martin, a wingman who flew alongside her father that day in 1944.

In 1997, Mr. Martin wrote Ms. Andrews a four-page letter, detailing the day her father was last seen. He described the mountains and the snow and how he and another wingman flew alongside her father’s plane until it disappeared, she said. “I always wanted to know if he died alone,” she said.

In 2011, Mr. Frank, who was assigned to investigate cases of military plane crashes in Italy, began to create a database of known cases. He began to piece together information about Captain Dickson’s crash, including eyewitness reports and German military forces records that identified a crash site near where Mr. Dickson reportedly went down.

With the help of a local resident who had discovered the crash site as a child, the agency, on April 26, 2012, found a site near the southern border of Hohenthurn, Austria, where it believed Captain Dickson’s plan had crashed.

“It was actually one of the easier ones,” Mr. Frank said.

Last summer, students from the University of New Orleans and the University of Innsbruck were part of an excavation team that found what they believed were Captain Dickson’s remains, said Ryan Gray, an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at the University of New Orleans.

In August, a Department of Defense official called to tell Ms. Andrews the news.

“It was just too much for me, I couldn’t take it in,” Ms. Andrews said. She said she submitted her DNA for analysis and waited, restless.

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