Remains of WWII airman identified
ALBANY, N.Y. — The remains of a World War II airman have been identified and will be returned to his hometown for burial, nearly 70 years after his plane and two others slammed into a remote, jungle-covered mountainside in the South Pacific.
DNA samples provided by relatives matched that of Sgt. Dominick Licari, who was 31 when his A-20 Havoc bomber crashed into a mountain in Papua-New Guinea on March 13, 1944.
Augustus “Mort” Licari told The Associated Press on Thursday that he and his only other surviving sibling, Katherine Frank of Darien, Conn., were notified last week that their brother's bone fragments and dog tags were recovered last year at the crash site by a team from the U.S. Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command.
Mort Licari said he was driving from New Jersey to his home in Summerfield, Fla., when he got the call informing him that his brother's remains had been identified.
“I pulled over and kind of got myself together,” Licari said on Thursday.
The pilot of the doomed plane, 2nd Lt. Valorie Pollard of California, was killed and listed as missing in action.
Mort Licari said he and several nieces and nephews plan to be at the Albany airport when a plane with a casket bearing his brother's remains arrives late Friday afternoon. A military honor guard will carry the casket to a waiting hearse, which will take the remains 70 miles west to Dominick Licari's hometown of Frankfort, where a funeral and burial will be held on Aug. 6.
Drafted in 1942, Dominick was the gunner on the two-man A-20 when it crashed in bad weather on its return from a bombing run against a Japanese airfield. Two other A-20s in the group hit the same mountain, killing six airmen in all.