The remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William O. Pile, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. On November 3, 2015, it was announced by the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
Army Air Forces 1st Lt William O. Pile, 24, of Circleville, Ohio, enlisted into the National Guard in Columbus, Ohio on 15 October 1940. William served in England, France, Belgium and Germany. The Miss Kam was piloted by 1st Lt William O. Pile. On Dec. 23, 1944, Pile was assigned to the 559th Bombardment Squadron, 387th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, and was deployed to Germany. Pile was the pilot of a B-26C Marauder, with eight other crewmen onboard, which crashed after being struck by enemy fire while on a bombing mission against enemy forces near Philippsweiler, Germany. Pile and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. Robert Ward, were reported killed in action. The other seven crewmen survived the crash by parachuting to safety; however, one crewman was captured by enemy forces and was reported to have died in captivity. His remains were later returned to U.S. custody. Pile and Ward were not recovered during the war.
Statement: "I was in no. three position in the low flight of the second box, flying at 11,600 feet, 190 m.p.h. Just East of Bastogne, at 0942 hours, our flight was attacked for the second time by four ME 109"s. The flight leader, Lt Pile and Lt Pusateri, fluing no. two position, were shot down. Lt Pusateri went down in flames with both engines on fire. Lt Pile was hit in the tail control surfaces and rear part of the ship. He looked fairly well under control as he glided his ship off to the left." Statement from Warren B. Wade, 2nd Lt, Air Corps: "Lt Luce thought that Lt Pile had been hooked in his seat and couldn't get out. He was believed to have rode the ship down."
In April 2009, a Department of Defense (DoD) team traveled to Philippsweiler to interview several German locals who recalled an American war-time crash. The team surveyed the possible crash site. Between June 2010 and July 2011, two DoD recovery teams excavated the suspected crash site, recovering human remains and aircraft wreckage. To identify Pile’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and exclusion by mitochondrial DNA testing on a second set of remains associated with Ward.
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William O. Pile, 24, of Circleville, Ohio, will be buried Nov. 10 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 11 Gold Stars, and Purple Heart.
The 559th Bombardment Squadron was activated as a B-26 Marauder medium bombardment squadron in late 1942. Trained under Third Air Force and deployed to European Theater of Operations (ETO) in July 1943. Initially being stationed in Englandand assigned to IX Bomber Command. Engaged in tactical bombardment of enemy targets in Occupied Europe initially from stations in England, then after D-Day, moved to Advanced Landing Grounds in France and Belgium; advancing eastward as Allied ground forces advanced. Supported Eighth Air Force strategic bombardment missions over Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe; striking enemy airfields to obtain maximum interference in Luftwaffe day interceptor attacks on heavy bomber formations returning to England. Also participated in Western Allied Invasion of Germany, March–April 1945, combat ending with German Capitation in May 1945.