MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The remains of a Minnesota Army Air Force soldier who was killed in World War II are finally being brought back home to his family.
Harry Lester Bedard was just 22 years old when he died in combat. The bombardier navigator’s B-25 crashed on the Cebu Islands Phillippines on April 3, 1945.
His body was recovered through an expedition two years later, but the identity of his remains weren’t confirmed until recently.
Until then, Bedard and his other five airmen were placed in a combined grave in St. Louis.
In 2008, the military was able to find a DNA sample of all five crew members. The bodies were then exhumed and brought to Hickam Field in Hawaii for analysis. It wasn’t until 2008 that tests were able to confirm the identity of the five men.
“It’s something Grandma Bedard and the aunts and uncles, his brothers and sisters had never thought could happen. The idea of the DNA finding everything like that,” said Larry Bedard.
But it did and now Harry Bedard is finally coming home.
“(In) our family, there are 18 cousins, and after some emails decided we wanted to return Uncle Harry to his family,” said Larry Bedard.
Harry Bedard’s remains are being flown back to Minnesota this week and he will be laid to rest at the Bedard family plot in Dayton on Saturday with full military honors. His family will now have some closure after all these years.
“It’s a happy ending and it’s as good as it can be,” said Larry Bedard.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Samantha Smith Reports