According to the military, on May 23, 1944, the men were aboard a C-47A Skytrain that departed Dinjan, India, on an airdrop mission to resupply Allied forces near Myitkyina, Burma. When the crew failed to return, air and ground searches were initiated, but found no evidence of the aircraft along the intended flight path.
In late 2002, a missionary provided U.S. officials a data plate from a C-47 crash site approximately 31 miles northwest of Myitkyina. In 2003, a Burmese citizen turned over human remains and identification tags for three of the crew members.
A Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the crash site in 2003 and 2004, recovering additional remains and crew-related equipment—including an identification tag for Dawson.