WWII Airman's Remains Found in New Guinea Jungle

Herbert 'Buddy' Young was shot down in his B-24 bomber in April 1944
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2014 11:44 AM CDT
WWII Airman's Remains Found in New Guinea Jungle
The remains of WWII airman Herbert "Buddy" Young have been found in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.   (Shutterstock)

Herbert "Buddy" Young's family says he was scheduled to come home after putting in 300 combat-mission hours when he subbed as co-pilot in a B-24 bomber called "Hot Garters" on April 10, 1944. The WWII plane was shot down over the jungles of Papua New Guinea, and for more than 70 years, Young was MIA. The Verde Independent reports his wife was two months pregnant when he was shipped overseas; his now-71-year-old daughter, Diana Young Long, received the closure she had been looking for all these years in March: Her dad's remains had been found, USA Today reports. Young was brought home with full military honors, and his family held a funeral on Wednesday, complete with a 15-gun salute, bagpipers, and a bugler playing taps.

The plane was on the offense against Japanese installations at Hansa Bay when it was hit, and a service member in another plane said he saw five parachutes open and drop to the ground, where "we could see two of the men moving about." They couldn't find their comrades, though, and natives later told the Australian military that four of the men had survived, then been taken away by the Japanese and either died from their injuries or were brutally murdered. Long gave up thinking her father would be found, but a nonprofit group joined up with the Army and started searching for cold-case WWII crashes. Near where her dad's plane had gone down, search teams found coins, ammo, belt buckles—and soldier remains, some of which had DNA that matched Young's sister. His gravestone in Arizona's Prescott National Cemetery now reads: "Killed in Action April 10, 1944. Welcomed home Oct. 15, 2014." (More World War II stories.)

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