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Remains of Utah soldier missing for decades are set to come home

(Photo: DPAA)

SANDY – A Utah soldier who has been missing since 1945 is finally coming home to be laid to rest.  The pilot was shot down during World War Two, and people had been searching for him for decades.

Army Air Forces Lieutenant Lynn Hadfield was piloting an A-26 bomber with two crewmen when their plane was taken down in March of 1945.  Military officials say they were keeping the German army away from the Rhine River so the Allied Forces could cross it two days later.

Normally, plane crash sites behind enemy lines were tracked by the German government.  However, this crash was an exception.

“This particular incident was not recorded by the Germans.  This was near the end of the war and things were more chaotic for the Germans and they didn’t have the resources,” according to Chuck Prichard with the POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Prichard says people had been looking for the site for a long time, but, there wasn’t enough information to go on.

He says, “It was unreliable.  They couldn’t find any good information as to where it was.  That’s why it took so long.”

However, all that changed in 2016, when German researcher Adolph Hagedorn found an unregistered crash site that could be linked to Hadfield.

“Through his research and through his interviewing he had information on a plane crash,” Prichard says.

The site was uncovered, and equipment that matched Hadfield’s plane was found.  Skeletal remains were taken back for testing, and Hadfield’s identity was confirmed last December.

Prichard says even when a soldier is identified generations after they died, closure is still important for the veteran’s families.

“A missing piece has been finally put back in the family and now they’re complete,” he adds.

Hadfield is expected to be buried in Sandy in March