The remains of U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari (pictured) will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery nearly 70 years after they went missing.
The Pentagon's Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced Sept. 12 that remains representing U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard from Monterey, Calif., and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari from Frankfort, NY, would be buried in a single casket with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 19.
Pollard and Licari were aboard an A-20G Havoc bomber when the plane crashed into the mountains of what's now Papua New Guinea after attacking enemy targets on the island. The bomber was excavated in 2012 and the two men's remains were recovered and identified in the summer of 2013.
A casket with Dominick Licari's individually identified remains was placed in a hearse by an honor guard after landing in Albany and escorted to Frankfort past cheering crowds by a group of veterans on motorcycles. Licari was buried Aug. 6 in Frankfort as flags in New York flew at half staff in his honor.
"Only one word that describes this: unbelievable. He's a man who has been dead longer than most people have been alive, but he's a hero coming home."
Vincent Iocovozzi, funeral director, distant relative of Licari
In Frankfort, storefront windows had U.S. flags and welcome messages for Dominick Licari, who died in 1944 at the age of 31.
Governor Cuomo Directs Flags to Half-Staff on August 6th, 2013 | LongIsland.com
The Pentagon said more than 400,000 U.S. service members were killed in WWII--more than 73,000 have never been recovered or identified. In May 2013, a group of four service members killed in Vietnam were buried in a single casket. More than 1,600 Americans remain missing from that conflict.
Remains of WWII Army Air Force troops identified, returned to families