WWII pilot brought home to Iowa after 70 years
POSTED: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 3:12pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 3:16pm
Davenport, IA (WQAD) -- Iowa flags flew at half-staff in honor of a World War II pilot and Clinton native who was missing for 70 years.
Saturday, April 12, U.S. Army Air Corps, 1st Lt. Louis Longman was laid to rest at the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery. Several of his nieces and nephews traveled hundreds of miles for the ceremony.
Longman was last seen in April of 1944 when he was returning from a mission in New Guinea with the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force. He encountered severe weather in his aircraft and his formation broke up. The 5th Air Force lost 53 pilots and crewmen that day.
Longman was declared dead on February 27, 1946 but his remains were never discovered.
In 2005 a possible aircraft crash site was found in New Guinea and in 2007 human remains and parts of an aircraft were recovered from the site.
In 2011 the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command – Central Identification Laboratory concluded that the crash site, discovered in 2005, was consistent with historical information about the crash.
A memorial service and interment was planned for April 12, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery. The National Guard provided full military honors.
Longman was born in Murdock, Minnesota and graduated from St. Mary's High School in Clinton, Iowa in 1936. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps later that year.
Included in his military awards and honors, Longman had the Air Medal (with numeral "2"), American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Bronze Service Stars), World War II Victory Medal and Pilot Wings.