Cover photo for John M. Nolan's Obituary
John M. Nolan Profile Photo
1921 John 1944

John M. Nolan

November 13, 1921 — May 18, 1944

Mount Carmel

The U.S. Army World War II airman from Mount Carmel who was killed in action on May 18, 1944, was buried for decades in Long Island National Cemetery. It was thought his remains were mixed with a fellow soldier who was on the same bomber that was shot down.

Sgt. Nolan, a son of Martin and Kathryn Nolan, of Mount Carmel, was a 22-year-old U.S. Army Air Forces photographer who was aboard the “Daisy Mae” of the 367th Bomb Group on a mission to bomb the oil fields of Ploesti, Romania, when the bomber was shot down. Eleven men were on the plane. Only three survived the crash, but they became POWs.

It was thought Sgt. Nolan’s remains and those of a fellow crew member, Staff Sgt. Meceslaus Miaskiewicz, 27,of Salem, Massachusetts, were mixed together and buried in the same Long Island grave. The tombstone bore both of their names.

It was later discovered that Miaskiewicz had attempted to parachute out of the plane when it was going down, but his parachute didn’t open. A farmer recovered his body and buried it in a grave there.

According to a Jan. 26, 2014, news story published in the World-Herald newspaper of Omaha, Nebraska, Army researchers discovered in 2011 when they explored the grave of an unknown American soldier in Stubica, in what is now Bosnia, that a farmer had buried a soldier from the plane crash in 1944. The body was identified as Miaskiewicz’s, and he was shipped to his hometown for burial.

The remains from the Long Island cemetery were shipped to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s central identification lab at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

After searching for living relatives of Sgt. Nolan, the Army eventually landed on Grace Smith, of Florida, a first cousin, who recommended Bob Nolan give a DNA sample. He said he received a request for a DNA sample in 2012. He used the DNA kit the Department of Defense had sent to him and his sister used a cotton swab to collect a sample of his saliva.

After the remains were identified at Hickam, they were sent to Offutt. They will be flown into Baltimore days before the funeral and driven by hearse to Mount Carmel for the burial.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John M. Nolan, please visit our flower store.

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