WWII aviator's long-lost remains to rest in Tucson

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Jun 4, 2005
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    Morlock: WWII aviator's long-lost remains to rest in Tucson BLAKE
    MORLOCK Tucson Citizen

    Tucson never met Hyman Stiglitz. Bad luck and the German
    Luftwaffe saw to that. Tech. Sgt. Stiglitz might have been discharged
    from the U.S. Army Air Corps and might have settled with his sister and
    parents in Tucson. Or he might have done as his brother did and found
    his own way in his own place of American terra firma. Instead,
    Stiglitz's first trip to Tucson will be his last - and it will never
    end. His remains will arrive Saturday after having been entombed for 61
    years in the wreckage of his B-24 Liberator bomber south of Berlin. The
    Fort Huachuca Honor Guard will meet his casket, and he will be buried
    next to his parents and sister at Evergreen Mortuary. His post-mortem
    journey to Tucson required the luck of salvage hunters, the skill of a
    forensics team and the will of a niece afraid of needles. It starts at
    his end on July 7, 1944. Stiglitz's crew had a reputation for getting
    shot up during missions. It was known as "the hard-luck crew of the
    hard-luck squadron of the hard-luck group" in the armadas of U.S.
    bombers flying out of eastern England during World War II, according to
    his unit's Web site. Nine days after D-Day, the crew safely landed
    because Stiglitz dangled on a small catwalk in an open bomb bay 20,000
    feet up and released bombs fused to detonate that hadn't dropped as
    planned. It bought them three weeks, during which Stiglitz's crew
    enjoyed one more seven-day pass in London. The day they died, hard luck
    struck again and left his group of Liberators unprotected by U.S.
    fighters busy elsewhere in the sky. The German fighter pilots attacked.
    The crew was doomed. They fell to earth so violently, no one could
    crawl out escape hatches and parachute to safety. The plane crashed into
    the German countryside. After the war, U.S. recovery crews scavenged
    Germany, looking for missing air crews, but Stiglitz's crew had gone
    down in the Soviet sector, which later became known as East Germany.
    Americans were not allowed to search freely during the days of the Cold
    War, said Maj. Brian DeSantis, spokesman for the U.S. Joint POW/MIA
    Accounting Command in Hawaii. In 2001, after reunification, German
    wreck hunters heard about the crash site and called German authorities,
    who contacted the U.S. military. The Accounting Command took over the
    crash site in November 2002, DeSantis said. One of the investigators
    was forensic anthropologist Greg Berg, a University of Arizona graduate.
    The challenge immediately was to sort out the remains after the violence
    of the crash in 1944, Berg said. "You end up with commingled remains
    mixing plane, equipment, ammunition and remains all together," Berg
    said. The problem in identifying the MIA soldiers from World War II is
    the backtracking needed to find the next of kin with contact information
    dating to the 1940s. Some 78,000 U.S. troops are still MIA from World
    War II. The Stiglitz family lived in Boston at the time its son was
    shot down. It subsequently moved to Chicago before settling in Tucson in
    1959. It took five years to sort through the remains, get DNA matches
    and identify the dead. Stiglitz and seven other crew members were
    identified. Sorting the remains meant forensics experts needed
    mitochondrial DNA, unchanged from mother to daughter, Berg said. They
    needed a female relative. From that they could confirm his identity.
    Stiglitz never met his niece Casonti McClure, but she proved to be his
    only living female relative. They needed her DNA, but that meant facing
    her fear of needles and blood. She agreed and gave the blood, but it
    didn't go well. "It was a big needle with a big bag of blood," said
    McClure, a high school dance teacher in Tucson, the daughter of Berta
    Wright. "I passed out." At first she heard it wasn't a match. Her
    cousin in San Diego later told her she was a match. "Uncle Hymie" was
    coming home - or some place like it. McClure's father, Adolph Wright,
    said Stiglitz was a fine violinist and a kind man. "He was an artistic
    type," Wright said. "He kind of kept to himself." The family went on
    without Stiglitz, whom it long ago stopped talking about. The dead can
    get left behind as the living go on with their lives. He'll be buried
    next to the people who knew him best. His sister, Berta Wright, made a
    name for herself as owner of a chain of art shops. His mother, Anna
    Stiglitz, popular in the local Jewish community, was known as a
    prodigious fundraiser. The Tucson media recognized her volunteer work at
    Handmaker Foundation. They lived into their 80s. Hymie died at 25
    after a final bout with hard luck.
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
    Staff Member Moderator

    May 20, 2004
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    and you know who attacked his 492nd bg ?

    of course you do.......... IV.Sturm/JG 3

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