WWII Airman Who Crashed in '44 Finally Going Home

Dominick Licari's recently IDed remains to be buried in New York

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2013 9:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dominick Licari will finally be laid to rest beneath the grave marker that has carried his name for nearly 70 years. The World War II airman's bone fragments and dog tags—found last year on the Papua New Guinea mountainside where his plane crashed in 1944—will touch down on New York soil on Aug. 2, the AP reports. "There was the period in which we didn't know what happened to him," Licari's brother, August "Mort" Licari, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "All we know now is that he's on his way back to us."

Mort got the call just last week that the remains, handled by the US Casualty Recovery Team, had been identified using his own DNA. He was driving at the time, and "I pulled over and kind of got myself together," he says. While flowers have long sat atop Licari's empty grave at the family plot in Frankfort, New York, he'll now be buried beneath them, alongside his parents and other siblings. "It was my father's wish for all of us to be there," Mort said, adding he'll be at the airport, along with other family members, to welcome his brother home at last. "Now that will be complete. There won't be any hollow spots in that ground."

This undated photo shows World War II airman Sgt. Dominick Licari, whose remains were identified nearly 70 years after his plane hit a remote, jungle-covered mountainside in the South Pacific.
This undated photo shows World War II airman Sgt. Dominick Licari, whose remains were identified nearly 70 years after his plane hit a remote, jungle-covered mountainside in the South Pacific.   (AP Photo/Family Photo)
This undated handout photo provided by the Licari family shows World War II airman Sgt. Dominick Licari, right, with other airmen.
This undated handout photo provided by the Licari family shows World War II airman Sgt. Dominick Licari, right, with other airmen.   (AP Photo/Family photo)
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