Military Families

Omaha doctor hopes remains found at French World War II crash site that of MIA brother

B-26 tail gunner Tom McCaslin, killed in June 22, 1944, crash near Caen, France (Omaha World Herald)

B-26 tail gunner Tom McCaslin, killed in June 22, 1944, crash near Caen, France (Omaha World Herald)

An Omaha physician is hoping remains found in the French woods belong to his brother, a tail gunner on a World War II bomber that crashed near that spot just a few weeks after D-Day.

The crash killed everyone on board, including Staff Sgt. Tom McCaslin, who remains missing in action seven decades later. His brother, Dr. Joseph McCaslin, 84, and other family members would be grateful if he could come home soon, the Omaha World Herald reported Sunday.

“I think everybody in the family would feel better,” the doctor told the paper.

Last month, he gave the government a sample of his DNA following the recovery of the remains. Government officials said it was a routine request, but McCaslin is hoping.

Tom McCaslin was on board a B-26 bomber that crashed on June 22, 1944, near Caen, France, a few miles from Omaha Beach.

A British relic hunter found the remains -- finger bones and a part of a shoulder blade -- near the crash site last fall and turned them over to U.S. authorities. He also turned over a dog tag that belonged to Staff Sgt. John Canty, another missing member of McCaslin’s crew.

The paper said it was the third discovery of human remains at the site.

Just after the war, the body of one of those on board the bomber was found and buried in a local military cemetery.

In 1986, four members of the B-26 crew were identified from remains found by a French citizen.

McCaslin, Canty, and a third crew member, Robert Perkins, however, remain missing.

McCaslin enlisted in the Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor. He flew 25 combat missions in Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 for “resolute courage and heroism under fire.”

Dr. McCaslin visited the French crash site in 1995. With him were seven other family members, including Patrick McCaslin, a priest and Tom McCaslin’s youngest brother.

“We held Mass in that field for Tom,” Rev. McCaslin told the World Herald. “That was one of the highlights of my life.”