World War II Airman’s Remains Laid to Rest

The remains of Army 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird, 26, an airman who had been missing in action since World War II, were laid to rest with full military honors in Springville, Utah. The memorial service took place on Sept. 28, reported the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Bird, a native of Lindon, Utah, was an A-20G Havoc pilot whose aircraft did not return to base from an attack mission on March 12, 1944, over the island of Papua New Guinea, according to the Pentagon’s Sept. 25 release announcing the identification of his remains. In 2001, a team of Defense Department investigators located an aircraft crash site in a remote area of Papua New Guinea after a local resident turned in human remains and aircraft data plates that correlated to Bird’s aircraft. These helped lead to his identification. (See also Salt Lake Tribune report.)