It took 62 years, but a missing soldier was finally brought home to Pine Park, Georgia (near Cairo) last Thursday.
A hearse containing the remains of Captain Robert Turnbull was recognized by bystanders who held a hand over their hearts or saluted as his cortege passed through Havana, along with a phalanx of Patriot Riders escort.
Turnbull’s plane, a C-124, had crashed into a remote Alaskan glacier and ensuing avalanche in 1952 during a storm, say media sources. The plane remained under ice and snow over the following six decades, likely never to be found, thought family members.
A National Guard flight during a training mission spotted the wreckage in 2012 and efforts began to identify the 52 Army airmen on board. Using DNA and dogtags as well as other means of identification, Turnbull’s remains were positively identified and family members were thrilled to learn he would be coming home, to be buried with full military honors next to his wife.
"It was just unrecoverable, you know, with the harsh conditions in Alaska," grandson Jarrett Turnbull said. "I never would have expected to hear this ... finding the wreck site," he told reporters.
Turnbull's children - twin daughters and a son - were just 8 and 10 years old when he disappeared and unfortunately none of them lived to see him coming home, say media sources. Granddaughter Sharon Sellers escorted the remains home and more than a dozen family members met the Delta flight at Tallahassee Regional Airport to take him home.