Ernest N. Vienneau Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

MILLINOCKET — The remains of a World War II pilot from Millinocket whose body was lost in Europe’s Adriatic Sea have been recovered and will be buried in his home state, the U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday.

The remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau will be buried in Millinocket on Oct. 9, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said. Vienneau was 25 at the time of his death.

Vienneau had been based in Amendola, Italy, and a bomber on which he served as co-pilot came under fire over Maribor, Yugoslavia, in present-day Slovenia on Nov. 6, 1944. Vienneau was mortally wounded by a piece of flak that penetrated the cockpit. The crew attempted to treat Vinneau but he was fatally wounded. The B-17’s pilot attempted to return to base but was was forced to ditch the bomber off Vis Island, Croatia. Ten of the crew members were able to exit the aircraft, but Vienneau’s body sank with the plane.

The wreck of the bomber was found in a dive in 2017, the Defense Department said. Possible remains were recovered and submitted for analysis in fall 2020, it said. Dental records and other evidence confirmed they belonged to Vienneau.

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

The identification came the same day the Defense Department said human remains found in a cemetery in Belgium have been identified as those of a U.S. Army sergeant from Connecticut who went missing in Germany during World War II. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said testing showed the remains were those of Sgt. Bernard Sweeney of Waterbury.

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