Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome Home Sarg.

By Carolina Hidalgo, The Oregonian

Nearly 67 years ago, Tech. Sgt. Leonard A. Gionet, had ducked into the Army green radio room of a Boeing B-17. He sat on a worn green chair in the World War II-era bomber, the sun filtering in through an open window.. From a small chair bolted to the plane's plywood floor, he manned the radio, World War II raging outside the curved walls.
His plane, nicknamed "Naughty but Nice" and sporting a scantily clad woman painted on its side, never made it out of the war. Shot down by a Japanese pilot, it crashed into the thick forests of Papua New Guinea. On June 26, 1943, Leonard A. Gionet left behind a new bride and 6-month-old son Leonard, who would spend a lifetime piecing together memories.
Growing up, the younger Gionet, now 67, had only his mom's stories and a large chest of memorabilia to fill in the gaps. But it wasn't until a surprising phone call two weeks ago from the Army's casualty affairs center that he ever felt a hint of closure.
After 66 years, his father's missing remains had been identified. Years of investigation and forensic testing meant Leonard A. Gionet would finally receive a proper military funeral and burial.

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