Tennessee Department of Veterans Services
Nashville, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. Navy Ensign Harold P. DeMoss of Nashville, who went missing on June 23rd, 1945 while serving as a member of Fighting Squadron 100 (VF-100) from Naval Air Station Barbers Point in Oahu, Hawaii. He was 21 years old.
DeMoss was flying an F6F-3 Hellcat on a night training mission with two other aircraft when his plane went missing.
Burning wreckage was seen in the mountain terrain area of the night maneuvers later that morning and a search and rescue team confirmed the plane as DeMoss’ aircraft on June 26th, 1945. Although the U.S. Navy declared DeMoss as deceased, his remains were deemed unrecoverable.
Excavation efforts were conducted around the crash site from August to October 2016 by the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). DPAA Scientists used evidence at the crash site to confirm DeMoss’ identity.
“We join the DeMoss family in pausing to remember and recognize Harold’s service to our state and country,” Haslam said. “They have waited for more than seven decades for this moment and we hope a proper burial will offer some comfort for surviving family members.”
“There are no words to express the level of sympathy that we feel for the DeMoss family after waiting so long for closure,” Grinder said. “Ensign DeMoss is a Tennessee and American hero and we are grateful that he will finally be laid to rest among his family near his home and all he knew.”
Haslam has declared a day of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 15th in honor of Ensign DeMoss’ ultimate sacrifice.
The DeMoss family does not wish to be contacted by media or to release any arrangements regarding the funeral or burial of Ensign DeMoss.