Biden claims uncle vanished after crashing in area of New Guinea with cannibals; military has different story

President Biden visited Pittsburgh on April 17, 2024, where he claimed his uncle vanished during WWII after his plane crashed in New Guinea, where cannibals lived.

President Biden made a stop in Pittsburgh on Wednesday where he told members of the United Steelworkers Union that his uncle vanished in an area of New Guinea that was populated with cannibals, after his plane crashed during World War II.

Biden told the steelworkers that after D-Day, his mother’s four brothers volunteered to join the military. One of those uncles, he said, was Ambrose Finnegan, who went by the nickname Bozey.

"He was a hell of an athlete, they tell me, when he was a kid," Biden said, adding that he was in the Army air corps, which was in place before the Air Force came along. "He flew those single-engine planes as reconnaissance over war zones, and he got shot down in New Guinea. They never found the body because there used to be, there were a lot of cannibals, for real, in that part of New Guinea."

The president spoke with reporters earlier in the day before boarding Air Force One and heading out to Pittsburgh.


He told reporters he wanted to see how his uncle was memorialized in a World War II memorial for those who lost their lives in the war.

"When D-Day occurred, the next day, on Monday, all four of my mother’s brothers went down and volunteered to join the military," Biden said. "Ambrose Finnegan, we called him Uncle Bozey, he was shot down. He was Army Air Corps before there was an Air Force. 

"They never recovered his body, but the government went back when I went down there, and they checked and found some parts of the plane," he added.


The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has a different record of what happened to Biden’s uncle.

The site said on May 14, 1944, an airplane carrying a crew of three and one passenger, identified as Finnegan, left Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island for a courier flight to New Guinea.

"For unknown reasons, this plane was forced to ditch in the ocean off the north coast of New Guinea," the report reads. "Both engines failed at low altitude, and the aircraft’s nose hit the water hard."


The report also said three men failed to emerge from the sinking wreck and were lost in the crash, while one crew member survived and was rescued by a barge. Finnegan has not been associated with any of the remains recovered from the area after the war and is still not accounted for, according to the report.

Biden is no stranger to making questionable claims. Earlier this week, he claimed he was the "first" person in his family to "go to college," while speaking in Wisconsin.

"I, like an awful lot of people in this audience, was the first in my family to go to college," Biden told the crowd. However, less than two years ago, during a speech in Pennsylvania, Biden told an audience his grandfather played college football. In the statement, he said his "Grandfather Finnegan" was an "all-American football player" in Santa Clara.


Years before, when he ran for president in 1987, Biden exaggerated his academic record by bragging he graduated "in the top half" of his class while berating a reporter on the campaign trail. 

"I think I have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect," Biden told the reporter in New Hampshire at the time. "I went to law school on a full academic scholarship, the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship.

"In the first year of law school, I decided I didn't want to be in law school and ended up in the bottom two-thirds of my class," he said. "And then I decided to stay, went back to law school and, in fact, ended up in the top half of my class."

He later admitted that he graduated 76th in a class of 85. 

"I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school, and my recollection of this was inaccurate," he told The New York Times.

"I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science," he said. "My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors. I said 'three' and should have said 'two.'" 

The outlet pointed out Biden received a single bachelor's degree in history and political science.

Since then, Biden has told numerous stories that have also been deemed exaggerations. Mainstream outlets, including The Washington Post, have even called him out on them, including the publication's top fact-checker, Glenn Kessler.

Some stories Kessler addressed include Biden's claim he and his father saw two men in suits kissing each other in public when he was a teenager, that he was arrested for trying to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa and how, as vice president, he arranged for his uncle to be presented a Purple Heart that he was owed and never received. The uncle died in 1999, long before Biden was vice president. 

Biden also repeated a false claim last year about his house burning down in his attempt to relate to those who lost their homes to wildfires ravaging Maui.

"I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it was like to lose a home," Biden said. "Years ago, now, 15 years, I was in Washington doing ‘Meet the Press'… Lightning struck at home on a little lake outside the home, not a lake, a big pond. It hit the wire and came up underneath our home, into the … air condition ducts.

"To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my '67 Corvette and my cat," the president added.

A 2004 report from The Associated Press, archived by LexisNexis, said lightning struck the Bidens’ home and started a "small fire that was contained to the kitchen." The report said firefighters got the blaze under control in 20 minutes and that they were able to keep the flames from spreading beyond the kitchen.

Fox News Digital’s Jessica Chasmar, Gabriel Hayes, Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Joe Schoffstall and Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report.

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