Officials Finally Identify WWII Pilot Decades After Death

Officials Finally Identify Remains of WWII Pilot

( – Whenever a soldier dies, their family hopes the military will return their remains to give them a proper burial. Sadly, that didn’t happen for many men who fought abroad during World War II. However, one pilot who served in Europe is finally getting his honored homecoming and burial after his daughter fought to have his remains exhumed from the sight of his plane’s crash.

DPAA Accounts for WWII Pilot Previously MIA

On Wednesday, March 2, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) accounted for US Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Eugene Shauvin, 25, of Spokane, Washington. This notification was a long-awaited announcement, as Shauvin was a pilot during WWII. His daughter, Linda Chauvin, pressured the Army for decades to re-investigate the crash site where investigators deemed her father’s body non-recoverable in 1951.

After the DPAA finally agreed to re-investigate in 2016, it took until 2019 until they were able to get the required permits and permissions to return to the site. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, further complicating the situation. However, in April and May 2021, the DPAA recovery team finally reclaimed the site’s final set of human remains, confirmed using DNA analysis as Linda Chauvin’s father, 2nd Lt. Eugene Shauvin.

The Life of 2nd Lt. Shauvin

Shauvin left Spokane, Washington, to fight for his country in WWII, leaving behind a wife and 3-year-old child. He took part in the invasion of Normandy and had four brothers also serving overseas. On September 17, 1944, he flew a C-47 Skytrain when German artillery shot it down over Belgium. Six paratroopers successfully jumped to safety, but five additional paratroopers and the four crew members perished in the crash.

After the crash, locals buried the bodies they found in a common grave. However, the Belgian Red Cross exhumed them and buried them in the Retie village cemetery a few days later. The following summer, the Army’s Registration Company again moved the remains to identify and return them to their families. Despite all this, by October 1951, Shauvin’s body was never exhumed. Thankfully, due to his daughter’s persistence, Shauvin is now on his way home.

A Hero’s Homecoming

The Walls of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, currently includes Shauvin’s name listed as missing. However, with this announcement, caretakers will place a rosette next to his name to show he’s been found. Then, this July, Shauvin’s family will bury his remains in his hometown, finally bringing peace and closure to this painstakingly long wait.

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