Sixteen million Individuals served throughout World Warfare II. Greater than 400,000 would return dwelling in caskets after being killed within the battle. Extra so, 72,333 of the 400,000 wouldn’t return to their households, as they had been nonetheless lacking. That was the fact of the households whose sons, daughters, dads, or perhaps mothers by no means actually made it again, whose final reminiscence of them was leaving to battle for the nation.
Finest Mates and Brothers-at-hand
Two greatest buddies would reply the decision of World Warfare II and enlist collectively to serve: First Lt. Jim Louvier and First Lt. Invoice Grey. Earlier than they went, the 2 made a pact that if one in all them didn’t make it again dwelling, the opposite would deal with the household of whoever wouldn’t make it again dwelling.
First Lt. Louvier served as a bomber co-pilot, whereas his buddy Grey was a 391st Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group member. In September of 1945, Louvier would return to Washington, and simply two months later, he would marry Grey’s sister, Jeanne. Nonetheless, Invoice would sadly not witness the marriage of his sister and greatest good friend as he didn’t make it again dwelling.
On April 16, 1945, then 21-year-old Grey was on a dive-bombing mission in his single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt and flying close to Lindau, Sachsen-Anhalt, in Germany when, in keeping with his flight chief, his plane’s left wing clipped some bushes and prompted him to crash in Lindau. The world was simply three weeks away from witnessing the battle’s finish when the mishap occured.
In October 1948, the American Graves Registration Command recovered Invoice Grey’s plane by correlating the serial numbers on the aircraft that Grey was final seen flying earlier than the accident occurred. Nonetheless, there have been no indicators of his physique or something that would level the investigators in the fitting course as to the place his stays could be.
As for his household, they had been left with nothing however previous images and the greater than 100 letters he wrote whereas he was nonetheless within the battlezone, saying that he had flown 68 missions at the moment.
His sister Jeanne remembered Invoice as a “very quiet however very good” brother. He was the oldest amongst 5 siblings and joined the Military Air Forces in September 1942. And as his household wrote in his obituary, “Like many younger women and men of his era, Invoice jumped to defend our nation, enlisting alongside along with his good buddy and future brother-in-law, James I. Louvier.”
Following his disappearance, his household acquired his scrapbook full of information clippings about his profitable missions. In addition they acquired letters he wrote, primarily addressed to his household. At one level, he even questioned who Jeanne was courting. Little did he know that his sister and greatest good friend would find yourself being collectively.
Lt. Grey Comes Dwelling
Within the following years after his disappearance, there was no information about the place Grey might be or if he maybe miraculously survived the crash. Till 2012, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (now referred to as the Protection POW/MIA Accounting Company) was contacted and pointed to the place Grey’s crash website was. The investigators who occurred to be there and looking for a distinct lacking soldier had been flagged by witnesses who noticed how Grey’s aircraft crashed, describing intimately what occurred. With their assist, the investigators managed to find the place Grey crashed, though they didn’t discover his physique.
In April 2016, the Protection POW/MIA Accounting Company (DPAA) began excavating the positioning till they discovered bones that they believed had been Grey’s. His niece, Jan Bradshaw, stated in an interview, “The bones they discovered had been embedded within the tree.” Whereas her brother Doug added, “It grew over his stays and actually protected and marked the spot.”
DPAA despatched the stays to their lab for anthropological evaluation and historic analysis and evaluation to be sure that the stays had been actually of Grey. The DNA matched along with his two sisters, lastly permitting the battle hero to seek out his approach again dwelling.
In 2017, the stays of First Lt. William Grey lastly returned to his household for a correct burial. He was additionally awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Coronary heart.
As for Louvier, he handed away in 2010 on the age of 89. When he did, his household couldn’t determine the place to bury his ashes, however upon his greatest good friend’s return, they simply knew what to do. So on July 14, 2017, the 2 had been buried facet by facet with full navy honors in Kent, Washington, on the Tahoma Nationwide Cemetery.