1 of 4 | A military honor guard places a casket containing the remains of World War II airman James M. Howie at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport in St. Louis on Friday. Howie, who was killed in a crash 80 years ago, will be buried Saturday in his Illinois hometown of Chester. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
May 29 (UPI) -- The remains of a World War II airman, killed in a crash eight decades ago, will be laid to rest in his Illinois hometown of Chester five days after Memorial Day.
Tech Sgt. James M. Howie, 24, was a radio operator on a B-24 Liberator bomber on Aug. 1, 1943, when it was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire north of Bucharest, Romania during Operation TIDAL WAVE, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Howie's remains were not identified after the war ended and were buried in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.
After the war, the American Graves Registration Command disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. The AGRC was able to identify only 80 unknowns, including Howie, whose remains were interned in Belgium.
In 2017, DPAA exhumed unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation TIDAL WAVE. Those remains were sent to an Air Force base laboratory in Nebraska for examination and identification using dental and anthropological analysis, as well as DNA testing. Howie's remains were positively identified in August of 2022.
On Friday, Howie's remains were flown to St. Louis-Lambert International Airport in St. Louis where they were given a dignified transfer by a military honor guard. He will be buried in Chester, Ill., on Saturday.
Howie's name can be found, along with other missing WWII veterans, on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy.
Now that Howie has been identified and returned home, a rosette will be placed next to his name.