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Remains of WWII Airman Returned to Montana

Remains of William Bernier have been returned to Montana 70 years after his plane went down

BILLINGS — The remains of a missing World War II airman have been returned to Montana 70 years after his plane went down over Papua New Guinea during World War II.

Family members planned to bury 1st Lt. William Bernier in his hometown of Augusta on Friday. Military officials said his remains arrived in Montana aboard a commercial flight late Wednesday.

Bernier was a 25-year-old bombardier on a B-24-D Liberator bomber that went down in 1944 after being hit by anti-aircraft fire over the city of Madang. His remains were identified comparing DNA found at the crash site with DNA from relatives.

Several other crew members from the flight also were accounted for recently.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, the Defense Department says more than 73,000 remain unaccounted for.

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