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Joseph Thompson MIA

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Text Box: There has been reports of scavenging by local villagers.  Pistols have been removed and who knows what else.

It is even more important to contact our congressmen. It only takes a minute and it could bring another MIA home.




I was contacted by Bryan Moon of MIA Hunters. I have copied a portion of his correspondence with Sandy and me:


I have set in motion another expedition into the region of Ward Hunt in search of the above. I have taken all the information in the correspondernce you sent to me which contains far more leads than we generally have at this stage. The expedition will consist of Papuan representatives of MIA HUNTERS based in Lae, PNG but also include natives from Ward Hunt area who know the district and speak the local language.

I have “instructed” my Papuan group to move ahead.
I have given them all the information on the aircraft and its best known location so now we must wait and see how they make out. This may take two or three weeks but I will let you know when I hear from them. They have been directed to take photographs as they go and specially at the crash site. They have also been directed not to excavate or interfere with the crash site as this is the area of operation for the CILHI to whom we would turn over all the evidence if the site is located.
So keep the faith !
Bryan Moon.


Great News indeed!



Another correspondence from Bryan and MIA Hunters on the expedition his team just returned from. New pictures will be coming soon.


Bryan Moon writes:

From our last expedition in PNG I have kept contact with some Papuans in Lae and piecing together the various inputs on the above aircraft, I underwrote three of them to make another attempt at finding this B24. I made it clear to them not to interfere with the crash site if it was discovered as I know your team are experts at this and would rather the crash site was left untouched.

The group returned from this search on Sunday June 29th. The leader was hurt in a fall and was recovering when I spoke with him yesterday on the telephone so his preliminary report is sketchy and incomplete. However, he did report that he had found the wreck of this B24 and was able to identify it because he claimed that one of the local natives showed him a "note book" from the crash site with the name

FRANK ROBERT on it. I checked the list of crew members on board this aircraft and there is listed a Gunner by the name of S/Sgt ROBERT E FRANK. While this may not be totally conclusive, it does appear that the missing bomber may be found.

My man in PNG, operating as a member of MIA HUNTERS was directed to take photographs, names and to prepare a map of the location (he did not have GPS unfortunately) and to send all this to me. This may take about ten days but when I have a more conclusive report, I will pass it on to you.


In a phone conversation with Bryan he told us that the Local village has been trying to keep an eye on the site and that they are being very helpful. They will even build a road for the team to make accessing the site easier.

10SEP03 Press Release 10SEP03


Sorry I haven’t written before now. It’s been a little hectic on the home front.

So many people have come to help us bring Joseph back from former military people like George Wyatt and Jim McEwen who knew Joseph to elected officials. MN Senator Steve Murphy was the first to contact me and lend his aide. US senator Mark Dayton and his staff have also been checking into things. Now this week I get an e-mail from US Congressman John Kline lending his resources. I am amazed that so many people do care. We still don’t have all the answers like when JPAC (formerly CILHI) will go to the site and recover the crew but we’re getting closer. Writing Congress does indeed get your voice heard!!! And this being an election year maybe we could use that to our advantage!!! Doesn’t hurt to try.

The Recovery Work Has Begun



I just received word that JPAC/CIL is as I type this at Joseph’s crash site in Papua New Guinea working to recover remains of the 11 member crew of The Swan. The team should be back in Hawaii with the crew’s remains by the end of April 2004.

From there the identification process will begin. This could take anywhere from a few days to 2 years depending on what method they need to use to identify the crew. Dental Identification only takes days whereas MtDNA can take 2 months. The identification process starts with sorting the remains. Hopefully the mud encased fuselage and entombed the crew so there won’t be a lot of sorting to do. I will let you all know details as I am informed of them.

The Identification
Has Begun!


Thank you to everyone who has corresponded with me and helped us get as far as we have. I hope that I was able to help those who requested help in finding information to locate their loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

I know that it’s been a while since I have updated but that’s because I had no information to pass on. I had not heard from Army Casualty in over a year despite e-mails and phone calls I had made to their office. No one else that had been in contact with me through this process was calling me either.

Today that changed. I began to call and e-mail my representatives on both the state and federal level last week. I received a call from Senator Dayton’s office on Monday. I received another call today. Nate was in contact with Army Casualty this week. It seems that since Joseph and his crew returned to American soil 9 other families of the crew have been located.

The process of identification will begin in earnest now. It is hoped that wanting Joseph’s DNA to confirm Sandy’s paternity will help speed the process up a bit. Our ultimate goal was is and will always be to give Joseph the honor and final rest he deserves.

I have been told that due to regulations we cannot have information about the other family members and they can’t be given ours. I am hoping that that may change as the regulations were put in place for current military and their families. It really shouldn’t apply to past conflict heroes.

Continue to contact your elected officials about the POW/MIA issues. They really do listen!


Just got off the phone with Army Casualty. Another blood sample needed to be taken from one of the other crew members family for MtDNA compairison. JPAC also did more cuttings from remains to get a better MtDNA sample of that crew member. From the way it was put to me there are MtDNA samples from all the crew and all but one of the families now. We should have Joseph's remains as well as the rest of the crew identified by Christmas. We are so excited about this. It would be a wonderful present to give to Sandy as she gave us the present of a new branch of our family.

Hopefully, the next update I give will is to tell you all that Joseph is home!

Text Box: OK time for a little biology lesson so you can understand what we were told.

Text Box: DNA is called our biological fingerprint.  But there are two different types of DNA.  Nuclear DNA (nDNA) is what you hear about on TV and in shows like CSI Miami. nDNA is like a fingerprint and is an excellent way to identify people.  Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is like a smudged fingerprint.  1-16,887 have the same mtDNA.  David, his mother, his grandmother, his great grandmother, and all of their children (except David's) all have the same MtDNA.  nDNA degrades over time but they have been able to extract mtDNA from a 2000 year old Egyptian mummy.

Text Box: Now for what we were told.
Text Box: Of the 11 crew members of the Swan only 9 were brought back.  JPAC will be going back early January 2007 to bring back the other two.  Of the 9 brought back JPAC was able to get a good mtDNA sample from 8.  Of the 8 samples there were three "probable matches."  Of the three one of them matched David and Uncle Lee's mtDNA.  This is most probably Joseph.  JPAC will confirm the identification after retrieving the other samples and comparing them to the samples given by family members.  John Webb, Sr. Advisor to the Commanding General of JPAC, told us that they should be able to release the remains next year.

Text Box: The chances are excellent that they have identified Joseph and that we will be able to lay him to rest in 2007.  Sandy would like him to be buried at Fort Snelling here in MN.  David and I have been and will continue to do everything in our power to follow through on her wishes.

Text Box: Now for the last order of business

Text Box: Did you know that our government gave millions to researchers to study the sexual behavior of earthworms?  Did you know that our government has given millions to other researchers to study the viscosity of Ketchup?  There are billions of dollars out there sitting  to be given as grants to frivolous research studies like this and there is not enough money to bring our heroes home?  Please continue to contact your elected officials about this travesty and get the money into the right hands like JPAC to go and get our heros, bring them home, identify them and return them to their families.  Joseph will be soon at rest and given the honor he is do but there are 88,000 Americans from all the wars and conflicts still out there.  Help bring them all home.

Family Member Update

August 2006 Minneapolis, MN

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