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WWII pilot’s remains returned to Maine hometown for burial

October 3, 2021 GMT

MILLINOCKET, Maine (AP) — The remains of a World War II pilot whose body was lost in Europe’s Adriatic Sea have been returned to his hometown in Maine, according to state officials.

The remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau were transferred from Massachusetts to Millinocket, Maine, on Saturday by the Maine State Police Honor Guard, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety.

Vienneau was co-piloting a bomber over present-day Slovenia on Nov. 6, 1944, when the aircraft came under heavy fire, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Vienneau was mortally wounded, and the pilot was forced to ditch the bomber off Vis Island, Croatia.

Vienneau’s body could not be recovered from the sinking bomber, the department said.

The wrecked bomber was found during a 2017 dive, and remains were recovered and later confirmed to belong to Vienneau, the Defense Department said. The agency announced in August that the remains would be transferred to Vienneau’s hometown in Maine.

A burial in Millinocket is scheduled for Oct. 9.

A rosette will be placed next to Vienneau’s name on Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy, where he was based, indicating he has been accounted for, the Defense Department said.