Arkansas WWII veteran found after 77 years

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – After almost 80 years an Arkansan and World War II veteran’s remains have been found and are on the way home. 

“Oh, well, I’m tickled to death. I spent a lot of time with people looking for him. It just really hasn’t sunk in yet, but it will,” said Bob Mitchell, brother of 2nd Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell. 

He was only 14 years old when Lt. Mitchell’s U.S. airforce P-38 went down over Austria in 1944. 

Since then it has been 77 years of questions with very few answers. 

“I was starting to wonder, that is me being 90, I’m not going to live forever. Yeah it’s good that we found him,” said Mitchell. 

Mitchell set a mission to recover his brothers in 1997. He said without the help of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Senator John Boozman, and Congressman Steve Womack it may not have been possible. 

“We hit a roadblock when we found out the land which this aircraft went down was privately owned, and the owner of the land wouldn’t give the access to be able to excavate,” said Womack.  

However, the land recently came under new ownership, and with DNA testing Lt. Mitchell was identified.

Mitchell said his brother’s remains are currently on the way home; he’s not sure when exactly they’ll be here. But he said there will be a military funeral at the Fayetteville National Cemetary when they do. 

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