The Commerce Journal

Local News

July 13, 2014

Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

ELWOOD, Ind. —

Unchecked tears rolled down Paul Martin’s lined face as he clutched the hand of an Air Force servicewoman who handed him a handwritten note at the graveside service for his older brother.



The note said simply it was an honor to attend the burial of Airman 3rd Class Howard E. Martin six decades after the Globemaster miliary transport plane he was on crashed into the side of an Alaskan glacier.

 

Hundreds of people in this small central Indiana town lined the streets and attended the full military services for Howard Martin, one of 17 servicemen's remains reccovered recently among the 52 people who died in the Nov. 22, 1952, tragedy on Mount Gannett 50 miles east of Anchorage.

The wreckage remained submerged beneath the snow and ice of the Colony Glacier until 2012 when it was spotted by an Alaska National Guard helicopter crew. It took another two years to retrieve the remains and send them home to their families.

 

Howard Martin was 21 years old at the time of the nighttime crash; his remains were identified on April 18, 2014,  exactly 83 years from the date of his birth.

Paul Martin, 81, recounted the long wait for the return of his brother, expressing relief for the family to have his final resting place at home in Indiana. He said that was the eternal wish of his parents before they passed away several years ago.

 

“Mom and Dad both kept thinking that one of these days they’ll find him and bring him home," said Paul. "So she bought three cemetery plots rather than two."

 

The brother's remains were buried next to his parents' graves in Elwood Cemetery.

Niece Rusti Koons said she was touched by the large community turnout for her uncle's funeral and burial. “It was very overwhelming,” she said. “I have never seen such support."

Jane Buttry, 76, of Elwood, holding an American flag, was among residents who stood along the funeral procession route to the cemetery.

 

"It's been a long, long time," she remarked. "It means a lot when you get a family member back."

 

Traci Moyer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin of Anderson, Ind. Contact her at tmoyer@heraldbulletin.com.



 

1
Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads

Poll

How many games do you think the Lions will win in 2014?

7-9 wins
4-6 wins
1-3 wins
     View Results
Must Read
Facebook
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide