First Lieutenant Richard William Horrigan, Pilot in a P-47D “Razorback” Thunderbolt with the 22nd Fighter Squadron, 36th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force serving in Kolsa, Falkenburg / Elster, Brandenburg, Germany, assigned to Armed Reconnaissance Mission to the Alt Lönnewitz Airfield crashed while strafing enemy planes parked likely due to anti-aircraft fire on the 19th of April in 1945.

Richard’s Wingman witnessed the crash but because the Airfield was behind enemy lines, Richard could not be recovered. Once sufficient evidence became available that Richard had not survived, a Report of Death was issued in November of 1945.

The American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was charged with recovering the remains of Fallen Service Members in the European Theater following the war. Because Alt Lönnewitz Airfield was under strict control of Soviet forces, they could not investigate Richard’s crash.

A German National was able to investigate on behalf of the AGRC in 1953 confirming through an eyewitness human remains had been seen at the crash. However, they were never recovered and buried. Because the AGRC was not allowed to investigate the site, Richard was declared non-recoverable, the month of October in 1953.

In 2004, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a DPAA Predecessor in conjunction with third-party researchers investigating the site was approved for excavation in 2006. However, important site and logistical information was missing and a recovery team was not sent out.

In March of 2017, a DPAA investigation team returned to the site and located what they believed was Richard’s aircraft. June of 2019, DPAA contracted History Flight, Inc., a nonprofit organization to excavate the site. They recovered material evidence and possible remains that were initially transferred to the Police in Herzberg, Germany before being sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base Bellevue, Nebraska for analysis in August of 2019.

To identify Richard’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome DNA, and autosomal DNA analysis.

Richard’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Hombourg, Belgium, along with the others still missing from World War II.

A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate, First Lieutenant Richard Horrigan has been accounted for.

Decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

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