A World War II pilot from Maine whose body had been lost in the Adriatic Sea for more than 70 years has finally made it home.

The remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau, a World War II pilot whose body was lost in Europe’s Adriatic Sea, were brought home to Maine on Saturday. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

The remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau were transported from Massachusetts to Maine on Saturday. Members of the Maine State Police Honor Guard escorted the remains from Logan International Airport in Boston to Vienneau’s hometown of Millinocket, according to Shannon Moss, public information officer for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Vienneau will be buried in Millinocket on Oct. 9.

Vienneau was 25 when he was killed on Nov. 6, 1944, while serving as co-pilot of a B-17 on a mission over present-day Slovenia, according the Department of Defense. The plane came under heavy fire and he was fatally wounded by a piece of flak that penetrated the cockpit. Crew members treated Vienneau but he did not survive. The plane was forced to ditch in the Adriatic Sea off Croatia. Ten of the crew members were able to escape, but the Vienneau’s body sank with the aircraft.

Divers found the wreck of the bomber in 2017, according to the Department of Defense, and possible remains were submitted for analysis in the fall of 2020. Dental records and other evidence confirmed they belonged to Vienneau. The Department of Defense announced the identification of Vienneau’s remains in August.

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.


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