A member of a World War II bomber crew who perished on an island in the Pacific will be laid to rest next week in Riverside — just over 75 years after the men’s plane went down.
U.S. Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Vincent J. Rogers Jr. was 21 years old when he died along with six fellow crewmen after their B-24 Liberator plunged into a lagoon following takeoff from Tarawa on Jan. 21, 1944.
After a years-long investigation, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency finally confirmed in March that remains recovered from the crash site were those of the Snyder, New York, native. There was no word on the disposition of the other men’s remains.
According to the Cypress-based nonprofit Honoring Our Fallen, which supports military families and memorials, Rogers will be interred Wednesday at Riverside National Cemetery.
The airman, who served as an assistant radio operator aboard the B-24, trained at March Air Field prior to his deployment overseas with the 38th Bombardment Squadron, 30th Bombardment Group, according to military officials.
The March Field Air Museum in Riverside has a profile of Rogers on display.
He enlisted in the Army on Oct. 20, 1942, in Buffalo, near his home. Had he survived to the present, Rogers would have turned 97 this Saturday.
The serviceman’s remains will be returned to the U.S. on Monday. Funeral services are scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, and a reception will follow at the museum, according to Honoring Our Fallen.
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