FORT SMITH — Bob Mitchell waited 77 years to know the place his brother is.
Henry D. Mitchell of the Tontitown space was shot down over Austria in 1944 flying in his Lockheed P-38 Lightning in a mission with the Military Air Forces’ forty eighth Fighter Squadron.
Bob Mitchell, 90, of Fort Smith discovered his brother’s stays via the assistance of U.S. legislators from Arkansas and Austrian searchers, based on a information launch from U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark.
The invention concludes Mitchell’s 24-year search.
“I am simply so grateful that his brother, who lived proper throughout the road from my former workplace right here in Fort Smith, lived to see the day when correct respects may very well be paid, constructive ID may very well be made and a correct burial might happen,” Womack stated at a Tuesday occasion in Fort Smith.
Mitchell remembers his brother as “a quiet man” who knew fly even earlier than he fought in World Warfare II. He stated his brother grew to become a flight teacher at Starnes Flying Service in Conway after he earned an engineering diploma at John Brown College.
He put this ability to make use of within the Military Air Forces, the place he was commissioned a second lieutenant.
“He had reasonably been flying than pounding the bottom within the Military, as a result of he had made that remark a number of occasions,” Mitchell recalled.
He was stationed in northern Africa in 1944 earlier than shifting to Italy, he stated. Henry Mitchell flew a sweep mission over Austria from Italy. He was shot down July 8, his brother stated.
“They had been hit by anti-aircraft fireplace, and the Germans arrange some planes to battle with them,” he stated.
Henry Mitchell’s household was instructed he was lacking in motion three days after he was shot down. Mitchell stated he wasn’t as affected as his dad and mom since he was solely 13.
It wasn’t till 53 years later, in 1997, that Bob Mitchell reached out to then-Third District Rep. Asa Hutchinson about his brother. He obtained his brother’s struggle file from the Pentagon via his search efforts, he stated.
Employees members of the workplaces of Womack and U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., linked with Markus Reisner, who leads a World Warfare II plane search group in Austria. Reisner’s group discovered the downed airplane in 2017, Womack’s launch states.
The previous proprietor of the property did not allow them to excavate, however the proprietor’s son ultimately gave them permission, Womack stated.
Henry Mitchell’s stays had been present in a close-by shallow grave, his brother stated. He famous his brother’s bones and wrist watch had been in respectable situation once they had been discovered.
Bob Mitchell does not know who buried his brother.
“In the event that they hadn’t have executed this, this was in a closely wooded space, and the animals would have gotten to his stays, I am positive,” he stated.
Mitchell stated he was “tickled to demise” once they discovered his brother’s stays, noting how lengthy he had looked for him.
Henry Mitchell’s stays will probably be returned dwelling for burial in Fayetteville Nationwide Cemetery with navy honors, Womack’s launch states. His headstone within the cemetery will probably be modified from “Lacking In Motion” to “Killed In Motion,” his brother stated.
Boozman within the launch stated these efforts reaffirm legislators’ dedication to convey service members dwelling. He stated there’s “nothing higher than serving to reunite these brothers.”
“There are actually a whole lot of veterans lacking, both lacking as veterans or lacking as POWs, and we won’t let that go,” stated Mauricio Gonzalez, chief director and repair officer for Veterans Providers of Sebastian County. “They made the last word sacrifice, and I believe it is as much as us to convey all of them dwelling.”
Fight Historical past
Pilots within the Military Air Forces’ forty eighth Fighter Squadron escorted bombers, supported floor troops and did reconnaissance flights and fighter sweeps in World Warfare II.
Supply: Air Drive