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    363d ISR Group pays tribute to 1Lt Paul Schmidt; Pilot Accounted for from WWII

    363d ISR Group pays tribute to 1Lt Paul Schmidt; Pilot Accounted for from WWII

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt | U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Paul Schmidt, pilot assigned to 161st Tactical...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Hyatt 

    363rd ISR Wing

    In March 1945, U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Paul W. Schmidt, pilot assigned to 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 8th Air Force, and his squadron were engaged with attacking German lines of transportation along the Rhine River. On March 23, 1945 Schmidt was attacking an enemy train near Sendenhorst, Germany, in his F-6D, a reconnaissance version of the P-51 Mustang fighter, when he went missing in action at the age of 20. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death March 24, 1946.

    In May 1945, a set of unidentified remains was recovered, but there was insufficient evidence to make an identification. The remains were buried as an Unknown at the Netherlands American Cemetery.

    In 2016, historians with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) determined that the unidentified remains could be those of Lt. Schmidt. Almost 77 years later, on Sept. 28, 2022, based on anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence, and finally mitochondrial DNA analysis, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency positively identified Lt. Schmidt, allowing his family to finally bury him.

    Schmidt was interred Nov. 28, 2023 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., with family members and members from both the 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing and 363d ISR Group in attendance.

    When Mr. Michael Limmer, 363d ISR Wing historian, first learned about Lt. Schmidt’s remains having been identified, he immediately started coordinating with the 432d Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, to see if they were preparing travel plans to attend the funeral. The 432d Wing owned the squadron heritage, but unfortunately were not able to attend. Limmer knew the Group needed to be there.

    “This is the kind of thing that a historian lives for,” Limmer said. “This is an American hero, from our unit, who gave his life for this nation and who has been buried on foreign soil for 75 years. I felt a strong urge to see him brought home and to ensure that representatives from his unit were there to bury and honor him at Arlington.”

    Accompanying Mr. Limmer was U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. George Dibble, 363d ISR Group deputy commander, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeremy Murphy, 363 ISR Group senior enlisted leader.

    “Today, I experienced one of the biggest honors of my career, and it had absolutely nothing do with me,” said Dibble. “I, along with our group senior enlisted leader, and our wing historian, had the honor and privilege of representing the 363d ISR Group as Lt. Schmidt’s family said goodbye to him one final time.”

    Dibble had the opportunity to meet with Lt Schmidt’s brother and nephew at the funeral.

    “Schmidt sounded like he was a remarkable man who cared deeply about others and had a lifelong habit of standing up for people who couldn’t stand up for themselves,” said Dibble.

    The group also met another special guest who attended the funeral.

    “When Lt. Schmidt’s plane crashed, it hit a house that held civilians, and sadly a man in the house was killed,” Dibble said. “His grandson would go on to become a journalist and dedicated significant time to researching the circumstances of his grandfather’s death. This led him to Paul Schmidt’s younger brother, Roy, and while they were bound together through a shared tragedy, they built a years-long friendship.”

    “I’m proud as a person who was able to briefly work the accounting mission several years ago,” said Dibble. “I’m proud as the deputy commander of the same unit under which Lt. Schmidt served 80 years ago, and for the chance to play heartfelt respects to him and his family. But I’m especially proud of the tireless, and generally unsung, efforts that go on every day to provide the families of those lost or missing with a full accounting of their loved ones’ whereabouts and sacrifices.”

    Schmidt’s name is recorded on the Wall of the Missing at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, along with others still missing from WWII.

    For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at, find us on social media at or

    Schmidt’s personnel profile can be viewed at



    Date Taken: 12.11.2023
    Date Posted: 12.12.2023 11:01
    Story ID: 459736

    Web Views: 55
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