WWII airman returns home after 76 years

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WASHINGTON (ABC4 News) -A Utah WWII Airman whose remains were recently found in Romania returned home after 76 years.

The remains of Sargent Max Lower were recently identified after resting in a Romanian cemetery for nearly eight decades.

 ABC4 News was on the tarmac when the plane carrying Sargent Lower’s casket landed at the airport. His sister spoke afterward.

“I’m grateful, it was, I think defined a miracle that there was an eyewitness to what happened to his plane I found out years later in 2009 from the Romanian embassy… because of a Tremonton native Blair, who was with the embassy and through that connection to find out really what had happened… I never dreamed I’d live this long to see this resolved. “

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, on Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 aircraft on which Sgt. Lower was the radio operator crashed as a result of enemy anti-aircraft fire during Operation Tidal Wave, the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania.

Following the operation, the Romanian government reported they had recovered 216 Americans killed in the raid, 27 of whom were identifiable.”

Sgt. Lower’s remains were not among the 27.

Those not identified were buried as unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.

In 2017, DPAA began exhuming “unknowns” believed to be associated with unaccounted for airmen from Operation Tidal Wave losses. Fifteen remains were identified in the first year of this operation.

Sgt. Lower’s remains were identified by scientists from DPAA who used anthropological analysis, along with scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA analysis.

After Sgt. Lower will have a proper military burial on Saturday in his hometown of Lewiston.

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