New York

Remains of Pilot Shot Down in WWII Come Home to NY for Burial

Robert Mains' remains will be buried Saturday

The Pentagon says the remains of an American pilot shot down in Europe during World War II are being returned to his New York family for burial more than 70 years after he died.

U.S. military officials said Tuesday that Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Robert Mains, of Rochester, was the 27-year-old pilot of a B-24 Liberator taking part in a raid over Germany in April 1945. His remains returned to New York on Wednesday.

His daughter was there to accept his remains, a reunion 72 years in the making. She said she doesn't remember meeting her father. 

"He saw me once the day I was born and he was with me for a full day," Barbara O' Brien said. "Then he was called to war."

Mains would never get to hold his daughter again. His plane was shot down by enemy fighters near the German town of Ludwigslust. Only one member of the 10-member crew survived.

In 1997, a Pentagon team found aircraft wreckage. Other teams returned in recent years and found bone tissue that was identified as Mains' using DNA samples provided by his family.

His remains will be buried Saturday in the Long Island hamlet of Wading River, New York.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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