WWII pilot’s remains found in Europe, to be buried in Maine

MILLINOCKET, Maine (AP) — The remains of a World War II pilot whose body was lost in Europe’s Adriatic Sea have been recovered and will be buried in his home state of Maine, the U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday.

The remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau were accounted for in April and will be buried in his hometown of Millinocket on Oct. 9, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said. Vienneau was 25 at the time of his death.

Vienneau had been based in Italy, and a bomber on which he served as co-pilot came under fire over present-day Slovenia on Nov. 6, 1944, the Defense Department said. Vienneau was mortally wounded, and the pilot was forced to ditch the bomber off Vis Island, Croatia. His body could not be recovered from the sinking bomber, the department said.

The wreck of the bomber was found in a dive in 2017, the department said. Possible remains were recovered and submitted for analysis in fall 2020, it said. Dental records and other evidence confirmed they belonged to Vienneau.

A rosette will be placed next to Vienneau’s name on Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy, indicating he has been accounted for, the Defense Department said.

The identification came the same day the defense department said human remains found in a cemetery in Belgium have been identified as those of a U.S. Army sergeant from Connecticut who went missing in Germany during World War II. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said testing showed the remains were those of Sgt. Bernard Sweeney of Waterbury.