U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI)
website:  www.jpac.pacom.mil

The Department of the Army contacted Charlie Stalnaker in the fall of 2003, regarding the "repatriation" of his Uncle, Lt. Harold Stalnaker's remains.  That set in motion Charlie's search of the internet and various WWII message boards to unearth any additional information he could.  Many came forward to offer advice, counsel, historical records, or their recollection of the events leading to Lt. Stalnaker's untimely demise.

Our biggest debt of gratitude is due John Derneden, an Adjutant with the Luxembourg Army.  John is a WWII history buff in his spare time, and he has made it a personal crusade to locate and repatriate fallen soldiers with their families.  Due to his diligence on this quest, CILHI sent over a forensics team in July, 2002 to dig up and catalog their findings at the Kehlen, Luxembourg crash site of Lt. Harold Stalnaker's plane.  Here's a recounting of our first contact with John:

John Derneden (center, in fatigues) with the CILHI crew, July 2002
(Courtesy of Raymond Hoffmann)

Map of the crash site

8 November, 2003

Dear Charles, 

I am really surprised to hear from a family member of Lt. Stalnaker.

First of all Sir, I want to introduce myself.  I am 32 years old, and I am working as an NCO in the little Luxembourg Army.  In my free time, I am doing researches about the air war here in Luxembourg.  I am also a member of the General Patton museum in Ettelbruck.  I located more than 280 crash sites of Allied and German planes during the war.

Last year I discovered two sites of still missing pilots.  One of them was the site of Lt. Stalnaker.  I had known this site more than ten years.  When I finally got some details and reports from the war time, I could identify the unknown pilot.  I contacted the CILHI team from Hawaii and they came over here to do the recovery.

I have many information about the crash site and also what happened.  I have different statements from other pilots who were involved this day.  Also Lt. Coppolino is still alive and sent me also some information.  Is it possible for you to send me your phone number, so I can phone you for telling you the complete story, Sir.  I am really happy that finally a family member was found, and also that Lt. Stalnaker will have his final burial.  I am already looking forward to hear from you again Charles.

Yours sincerely,

John Derneden

By this time, Charlie had already conducted his meeting with representatives of the Army, and had in his possession a 100+ page report detailing CILHI's findings.  But we wanted more of the local color and perspective, so we continued to correspond with John, culminating in our trip to Luxembourg in December, 2003.  John used two of his vacation days to squire us around to the various locales detailed in these web pages, and he has proven to be an invaluable resource. 

Some of the photos taken during various recovery efforts in the Kehlen field:

Raymond Hoffmann with the recovered P-47D engine, 1991
(Courtesy of Raymond Hoffmann)
Raymond Hoffmann (center) with members of the CILHI crew, July 2002 
(Courtesy of Raymond Hoffmann)
Aircraft wreckage uncovered in one of the grids, July 2002
(Courtesy of CILHI)
Aircraft wreckage removed in 1991, but returned to CILHI for further evaluation in 2002
(Courtesy of CILHI)

Contact me (Charlie Stalnaker)
POB 4907, Laguna Beach, California 92652 USA

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