WWII pilot’s remains return home

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — The remains of a World War II pilot were finally buried with full military honors in his home state of Nebraska after 73 years in foreign soil.

Flight Officer Richard Lane died in combat in 1944. His family believed his remains were buried in a cemetery in the southeast Nebraska town of Filley, and they visited his grave on Memorial Day for seven decades. But the remains buried under Lane’s tombstone were recently discovered to be those of another man.

The Army had mistakenly sent the wrong remains to Nebraska. Lane had been buried in a military cemetery in Belgium in a grave marked “Unknown.”

Lane’s family didn’t learn of the mistake until a family in Idaho discovered the two soldiers’ remains were switched.

“To be a small part of getting a soldier or airman’s remains back where they belong — it gives me chills,” said Patrick Biddy, a veteran and historian of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment who helped return Lane’s remains home to Nebraska.

The remains buried in Lane’s grave are now being examined at a lab at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha. Biddy is awaiting confirmation of the body’s identity, but he believes the remains are of Pfc. Fred Ashley, a 2nd Cavalry reconnaissance scout from Idaho.