The partial remains of a U.S. Army pilot were buried in Italy over 50 years after he died in a plane crash during World War 2.
First Lieutenant Loren Hintz died over 70 year ago but some of his remains were discovered about seven years ago as his family had spent decades searching for him.
His children, who never met their dad, buried the rest of his remains over the weekend after Italian archaeologists discovered them as they dug in a field in 2016.
U.S. Army pilot 1st Lt. Loren Hintz, was buried in Italy after his aircraft came under attack by German forces. The plane crashed at a farm outside Bagnarola, Italy, near Florence.
First Lieutenant Loren Hintz died over 70 year ago but some of his remains were discovered by archaeologists recently in Italy
Gretchen Wronka, left, daughter of US Army Air Force 1st Lt. Loren E. Hintz, who lost his life when his aircraft came under fire from German forces and crashed at Bagnarola, near Florence
His daughter Gretchen Wronka, 75, told CNN: ‘We always knew our father was buried in there. So the mystery of where he was, we thought he was there.’
Some of Hintz remains’ were buried at his family’s request with almost 4,400 other American veterans at the cemetery south of Florence. Seven years ago, archaeologists began to find the rest of his remains.
New bones were later found, in addition to part of the plane, in rural farmland in Italy.
‘I have a great sense of peace and fulfillment,’ Wronka said following the ceremony. ‘It’s been a long journey, and the preparations have been detailed and extraordinary.’
Wronka said Loren Hintz was raised on a farm in Iowa and joined the Army Air Corps in 1941, shortly before Pearl Harbor occurred.
‘He had a passion for adventure. He was a young man who wrote poetry,’ said Wronka, who lives in Minnesota. ‘He loved to travel. He had a great zest for life, and this came through as children for Martin and me.’
Martin Hintz, 73, claimed he would look at his father’s chest and examine some of the items in it, including his uniform, books and other personal items. He said they felt closer to their father that way.
Master Sgts. Ernesto G. Gonzalez, left, and Daniel Davenport, 21 st Theater Support Command, Mortuary Affairs Unit, carry the flag-draped burial box of US Army Air Force 1st Lt. Loren E. Hintz
Some of Hintz remains’ were buried at his family’s request with those of nearly 4,400 other American veterans at the cemetery south of Florence
New bones were later found , in addition to part of the plane, in rural farmland in Italy
‘We knew him, but we never met him. ‘Several years ago, we finally got to meet him when the site was excavated, after many years of searching.’
At a ceremony on saturday, Hintz’ relatives including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, were there to commemorate him and took part in the ceremony.
‘It was a lovely day to be surrounded by my sons, grandchildren, my brother and his family,’ Wronka said. ‘I know my parents would’ve been so pleased and so proud and so grateful too.
‘This is the legacy my father has left, this is the legacy we are passing on to the next generation.
U.S. Army pilot 1st Lt. Loren Hintz, was buried in Italy after his aircraft came under fire by German forces
A group of Fabbri’s friends had made a list of American air troops who perished in the area and Hintz name was amongst them
They are strong, they are proud and they are Americans, and they know that a part of them is in this cemetery. I think that this next generation, even the little ones, will grow up knowing they were a part of this.’
Wronka commented on a website for P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, which is what her father used to fly, when a man contacted her to say he knew her dad.
The family later got correspondence in 2012 from Piero Fabbri, an aviator and amateur archaeologist based in Bologna, Italy.
A group of Fabbri’s friends had made a list of American air troops who perished in the area and Hintz name was amongst them.
Hans Wronka, Loren Hintz’s grandson, said: ‘It’s rather uncanny to be receiving an email from a complete stranger half a world away,’ Hans Wronka, Loren Hintz’s grandson.’
The subsequently got in touch with people who were present or knew about the day of the crash.
Then in 2016, archaeologists discovered machines and artifacts at the site. They had found the engine of the P-47, and it was still covered in oil. It was the plane that Hintz was travelling in.