Per the Department of Defense:
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford, killed during World War II, has now been accounted for.
On Dec. 17, 1944, Ford was the a member of the 765th Bombardment Squadron, 461st Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, as the pilot of a B-24J aircraft known as The Tulsamerican. Accompanied by a crew of nine service members, the Tulsamerican was the lead aircraft in a group of six B-24s from the squadron to participate in a combat bombing mission targeting oil refineries at Odertal, Germany. Coming out of a cloud bank near the target, the aircraft were attacked by more than 40 German Me-109 and FW-190 fighters. The unit suffered heavy losses with three of their six aircraft shot down and the other three damaged. The Tulsamerican sustained heavy damage, forcing Ford to abort the mission and crash land in the Adriatic Sea, near the Isle of Vis, in present-day Croatia. Seven crew members of the aircraft survived and were rescued, however three, including Ford, were killed in the crash, and their bodies were unable to be recovered.
Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.
DPAA is grateful to the divers who discovered the crash site, as well as the Croatian Government (especially the Croatian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Veterans Affairs, and Ministry of Culture), the Croatian Conservation Institute, the University of Zadar, Lund University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the National Park Service and the Croatian Navy, most especially the Captain and Crew of the DBM-82 Krka, for their partnership in this mission.
Ford’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy, an American Battle Monuments Commission site. A
rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Watch the team of divers working around the wreckage in the video below: