In the News
The excavation of a World War II crash site in Austria is being arranged in the coming months after more than a decade of attempts to locate the remains of a P-38 pilot from northwest Arkansas.
Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell of Harmon was 23 when his plane went down near Waldegg, Austria, on July 8, 1944 during a flight sweep to Vienna with the 48th Fighter Squadron. His brother Bob Mitchell of Fort Smith, 10 years younger, has never given up on the mission to bring his brother home.
“If they find him ... oh gosh that’d be really something,” Bob Mitchell said. “I’ve waited this long. I can wait a little longer.”
Bob’s efforts to find his brother’s remains began in earnest as early as 1997 when he wrote his 3rd District Congressman, now-Gov. Asa Hutchinson, for help in obtaining his brother’s military records. In September 2017 the Times Record ran an article detailing how efforts to excavate the crash site were stalled by the landowner at the time.
Since then, U.S. Sen. John Boozman and staff members have worked with the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and diplomats between the United States and Austria to develop relationships that have proven successful in recent months with continued conversations on the matter between the Ambassador for the United States to Austria, Trevor Traina; Austrian Ambassador to the United States, Martin Weiss; and the private landowner.