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Soldier4Christ
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« on: October 20, 2005, 09:27:54 PM »

 WWII pilot in glacier

21oct05

FRESNO: A frozen body believed to be that of a World War II pilot has been found protruding from a glacier in California 60 years after his plane crashed.

Two unidentified climbers spotted the frozen head, shoulder and arm of the body -- that is 80per cent encased in ice -- while climbing the remote Sierra Nevada glacier on the 4178m Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National Park.

US park rangers are working with military officials to excavate the body.

The team includes an expert from the Joint Prisoner of War Accounting Command, which recovers and identifies military personnel who have been missing for decades.

"We're not going to go fast," national parks spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.

"We want to preserve him as much as possible. He's pretty intact."

Park officials believe the serviceman, who is wearing a US Army Corps parachute, may be part of the crew of an AT-7 navigational training plane that crashed on November 18, 1942.

The wreckage and four bodies were found in 1947 by a climber.

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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2005, 10:42:34 PM »

Sister Hopes Airman's Body Is Her Brother

By MATT LEINGANG, Associated Press Writer Wed Oct 26,10:07 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jeanne Pyle hopes she may finally find out what happened to her brother, who has been missing since his military plane crashed during World War II.

She believes there's a chance that the well-preserved remains of an airman found this month in a Sierra Nevada glacier were those of her brother.

Pyle, 85, remembers her brother, Cadet Ernest Munn, as a handsome, 6-foot-4 man with blond hair and blue eyes. He was among four airmen who died when their navigational training plane crashed after leaving a Sacramento, Calif., airfield in November 1942. None of the members of that flight was ever found.

Mountain climbers found the remains on Oct. 16 in California's Kings Canyon National Park, the head and arm jutting out of the receding glacier. The body was in an Army uniform, and the hair was blond. It was flown Monday to Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu, Hawaii, where it is being examined at the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command for identification.

Confirmation that the body is that her brother would end a painful mystery that has lasted 63 years, said Pyle, who lives near St. Clairsville, about 110 miles east of Columbus.

"It would be exciting, in a sad way," said Pyle, who recalled last seeing her brother at a party on his 21st birthday, days before he enlisted in the Army. "We've been living with an empty feeling for so long. It would be nice to finally resolve this."

Forensic anthropologists there said they have a lot to work with. The ice preserved the body's skin and muscle, as well as the man's sun-bleached hair and his green uniform.

Military officials said the identification process would take weeks, possibly months. They also cautioned that the airman might not be blond at all and that his hair could have been discolored by the sun.

The three other men on the plane were pilot 2nd Lt. William A. Gamber of Fayette, Ohio; Cadet John Mortenson of Moscow, Idaho; and Cadet Leo M. Mustonen of Brainerd, Minn.

Pyle, the oldest of three sisters, said her brother's death was hard on her family, but especially her mother, who rode a train to Sacramento to attend a memorial service after military personnel suspended a search for the crew in 1942.

Munn worked at an investment firm in Wheeling, W.Va., across the Ohio River from their farm near St. Clairsville, before enlisting.

"I don't remember anybody in the family questioning his decision," said Pyle, who keeps letters from her brother boxed up in her garage. "He died doing what he wanted to do."

Sister Hopes Airman's Body Is Her Brother
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2006, 09:18:41 PM »

Frozen WWII Airman Gets Proper Burial

By PATRICK CONDON, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 30 minutes ago

BRAINERD, Minn. - A World War II airman whose frozen body was chipped out of a California glacier last fall was laid to rest in his hometown Friday, more than six decades after the young man disappeared during a training flight.
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Leo Mustonen's two nieces were among about 100 people who gathered at First Lutheran Church to say goodbye. A full military funeral followed at a cemetery overlooking the Mississippi River.

"This is one of the most unique and special days that any of us will ever be a part of," Pastor Andy Smith said. "Today we are burying a small-town boy from Brainerd, Minnesota, who dreamed of flying."

Mustonen was 22 when his AT-7 navigational plane disappeared after takeoff from a Sacramento, Calif., airfield on Nov. 18, 1942. An engine, scattered remains and clothing were found over the following years, far from the plane's intended course. All four men aboard were killed in the crash.

But Mustonen's remains were not found until last year, when two mountain climbers in California spotted an arm jutting out of the ice. Forensic scientists at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii analyzed bones, DNA samples and the airman's teeth before declaring in February that the body was Mustonen's.

At the cemetery, Mustonen was honored with a three-volley salute and a bugler playing taps. The military paid for the funeral, as it would for any soldier who died on active duty.

His nieces, Mary Ruth Mustonen and Leane Ross, did not speak at the funeral, but at an earlier news conference, they said they have been overwhelmed by stories told about their uncle over the past few weeks.

They learned their uncle was an ace student who excelled in science, who played in the school band and in sports, and wanted to work in aviation even as a boy.

Mary Ruth was 11 months old when her uncle died; Ross had not even been born.

"It's been pretty incredible," Ross said before the service. "He's become really a person. He really feels like he is ours now, and we've grown to love him."

Mustonen was buried alongside his mother, Anna, who grieved for years over the loss of her son.

"He's no longer out there on a mountain alone," Ross said.

Frozen WWII Airman Gets Proper Burial
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