Sen. Moran to Honor Kansas WWII Veteran Killed in Action After Sixteen-Year Effort to Recover Remains
May 28 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today announced he will present the remains of Kansan Sergeant Carol Eugene Domer to the surviving family at Nemaha County Veterans’ Memorial in Seneca, Kan. on Memorial Day.
Sgt. Domer was killed in action off the coast of Papua New Guinea when his crew had to ditch their B-24 plane while returning from a bombing mission on January 1, 1943. Sen. Moran and family member Ken Domer have been working since 2003 to recover Sgt. Domer’s remains and return them to his final resting place at the Nemaha County Veterans’ Memorial.
“After sixteen years of work to bring Sgt. Domer’s remains back home to Kansas, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to present his family with this ring and honor his ultimate sacrifice during WWII,” said Sen. Moran. “I would also like to thank Ken Domer and his family for their persistent effort to recover Sgt. Domer’s remains, Pacific Wrecks for their insight into the crash area and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency for the recovery of Sgt. Domer’s remains and their work to bring peace to families of our country’s fallen servicemembers.”
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- December 2003: Ken Domer of Spearville, Kan., Sgt. Domer’s nephew, contacted then-Congressman Moran’s office with a request to have his uncle’s remains returned to Kansas. Then-Congressman Moran made this request to the Army upon determination of if the site of the crash was recoverable. The Army indicated the request had been shared with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).
- February 2004: JPAC informed then-Congressman Moran that Sgt. Domer’s loss was on their list for investigation/recovery and they were working to develop a strategy for underwater recoveries in Papua New Guinea. They later informed then-Congressman Moran that, at that time, JPAC was not able to survey the site of the crash to make a determination of whether recovery of Sgt. Domer’s remains was possible.
- June 2008: Then-Congressman Moran’s office requested a status update on Sgt. Domer’s case. The Army responded that the site of Sgt. Domer’s crash had yet to be surveyed.
- July 2012: Sen. Moran’s office inquired again into the status of recovering Sgt. Domer from the plane crash site to see if there was any new information available. The Army later informed Sen. Moran that JPAC’s November 2012 mission for the underwater investigation/survey of the wreckage in New Guinea has been rescheduled for January 2013 and recommended follow-up in March 2013.
- March 2013: Sen. Moran contacted JPAC about the New Guinea mission, who responded the mission had been rescheduled for a November 2013 timeframe.
- January 2015: JPAC transitioned into the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
- February 2015: After the mission was repeatedly delayed, Sen. Moran elevated the case to the Secretary of Defense’s (SecDef) office.
- April 2015: Sen. Moran was informed DPAA was working with the Navy regarding the navigability of the waters to assess the mission. Upon further research and Ken Domer’s personal knowledge, Sen. Moran’s staff found information that Pacific Wrecks, a non-governmental organization, had discovered Sgt. Domer’s plane in 2000 and completed a dive to the plane in 2002. This information was shared with SecDef’s office.
- June 2015: Sen. Moran was informed an investigative dive was scheduled for Jan. 2016. Sen. Moran later sent a letter to Director of DPAA Michael Linnington to make certain the investigation and recovery of Sgt. Domer was a priority in the Jan. 2016 planned missions.
- September 2015: Sen. Moran and Director Linnington met in person in Washington, D.C. Sen. Moran asked for a commitment to schedule the search for January 2016, and after hearing the details of the site, Director Linnington agreed. Sen. Moran’s staff stayed in continual contact with DPAA through the rest of year leading up to the investigative mission.
- January 2016: DPAA confirmed the investigative mission occurred. Later, DPAA provided an update that a recovery mission would be conducted. Several photos of the site where shared (Appendix A-D).
- November 2016: DPAA confirmed the recovery mission occurred and would share the report when completed after 3-6 months.
- April 2017: The Army shared the report (see “DPAA Search and Recovery Report” pdf).
- October 2017: Following a request for additional information, the Department of Defense responded to Ken about the artifacts found during the recovery mission (see “Material Evidence Report” pdf).
- September 2019: After nearly two years of waiting for DNA analysis on the ring, Sen. Moran began additional inquiries on the status of the case. Later, the Army produced a report that no DNA could be recovered from the ring.
- December 2019: Sen. Moran met with DPAA Director Kelly McKeague to officially request to provide the Domer family with the ring. In an effort to produce any evidence connecting the ring to Sgt. Domer, the Domer family discovered a photo of Sgt. Domer wearing the ring. The ring is seen on the third finger of his right hand. The photo was shared with DPAA (Appendix E). Following the proper approvals, the ring was delivered to Sgt. Domer’s next of kin, Mr. Robin R. Domer III on Monday, February 17, 2020.
- February 28, 2020: Sen. Moran flew an American flag over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Sgt. Domer’s 100th birthday.
- March 2020: Sen. Moran was invited to a memorial service at the Nemaha County Veterans’ Memorial Park on Memorial Day, May 23. It was later postponed due to COVID-19.
- May 2020: The Domer family shared a photo of the ring and American flag (Appendix F and G).
- May 31, 2021: Sen. Moran will attend Sgt. Domer’s memorial event to officially present the remains (the ring) and flag to the family.
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