Memorial services for 1st Lt. Winslow G. Gardner, who was killed in a B-17E plane attacked by Japanese fighters during World War II off the coast of New Guinea, will be held Saturday - nearly 48 years after his death.
The co-pilot's remains have been identified and were returned to Utah Wednesday night, said Maj. Al Garcia, casualty assistance officer for the 96th U.S. Army Reserve Command.Services will be held at 10 a.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 E. 1300 South, followed by 1:30 p.m. military rites in the Hyrum City, Cache County, Cemetery.
Gardner was born in 1920 in Menan, Idaho, and graduated from Weber College in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942, was flying an armed reconnaissance mission June 1, 1943, over the coast of New Britain, an island east of New Guinea.
The aircraft was hit by the enemy fire, with its gas tank exploding before crew members could bail out. Three airmen parachuted to safety and the other seven, including Gardner, were victims of the explosion.
Six of the bodies of the seven crewmen were later discovered on the ground, and Gardner, who was 23 at the time, was listed as missing in action. His remains were found by a timber contractor last year in the nose cone of the plane. The nose cone was lodged in the base of a tree in a dense jungle. The Army conducted an investigation, identifying Gardner's remains, Garcia said.
Personal artifacts found in the plane wreckage, including pieces of Gardner's uniform, a metal case with wire-framed glasses, comb and boots, straps off his flight jacket and coins, were returned along with the body. The artifacts will be displayed in the Fort Douglas Museum, Garcia said.
Garcia said Paul J. Cassio Jr., the only surviving crew member on the B-17E, is about 72 and lives in Maryland.
It has been nearly 48 years since the airman's parents purchased a burial plot and tombstone in Hyrum after being notified by military authorities that their son had been lost in action. Now the serviceman will rest in peace.
He is survived by his mother, Ella Mae G. Wind; an aunt, Norma G. Rolfson, both of Salt Lake City; and an uncle, Clifton B. Green, Bountiful.