NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A World War II soldier who was missing for nearly 74 years is returning home to Tennessee after his remains were recently identified.
The Tennessee Department of Veterans Services announced Monday that the remains of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William Turner, of Nashville, arrived at Nashville International Airport on Tuesday, The Tennessean reported. A graveside service at the Nashville National Cemetery is scheduled for Aug. 22
The 20-year-old Turner was an aerial engineer assigned to the 555th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group and crew member of the “Hell’s Fury” B-26 bomber. He was aboard “Hell’s Fury” when it was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery during a 219-bomber-strong air raid targeting the German-controlled Schiphol Aerodrome in Amsterdam on Dec. 13, 1943.
Six bodies were recovered, but only two crew members were identified between 1946 and 1949. Unidentified remains from that crash and another were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 1951. Decades later, the Royal Netherlands Army Recovery and Identification Unit recovered more remains during a 2007 excavation of the crash site.
American agencies used DNA and anthropological analysis to identify the remains.
Gov. Bill Haslam declared Aug. 22 as a day of mourning in Turner’s honor, with flags to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset.
“William Turner was among the bravest American heroes to fight for our country in World War II,” Haslam said in a release. “We are grateful that he will be laid to rest on Tennessee soil and his family will have the closure and certainty of truly knowing his final resting place.”