The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

July 8, 2014

Missing Moulton war hero's remains identified

The family of Robert E. “Bobby” Howard has received official word of positive identification of his remains recovered from a World War II fighter plane crash in Muehlanger, Germany.

Howard enlisted in the United States Air Force when he was 19 years old as a member of the 450th Bomb Squadron — 322nd Bomb Group. He was part of the six-man flight crew on the Martin B 26B 55 MA Marauder serving as deck turret operator when the plane was shot down by enemy fire on April 16, 1945. The crew was listed as “missing in action, killed in action” since that time.

Bobby is the son of the late LaVerne and Berniece Howard, step-son of the late Mona Howard. His half-siblings include Harold (Des Moines), Evelyn Lewin (Indianola), Dennis (Des Moines) and Janie Ballanger (Coatsville, Mo.).

Family members received word from the group, Missing Allied Air Crew Research Team, of the original findings of the crash site and have been awaiting positive identification — along with the families of the other crew members — since that time.

The mission statement of the MAACRT is simple and reads ... “Until they all come home.” So, this military hero will be brought to Moulton where he will be laid to rest, finally with his father, who sadly didn’t live to see his son come home.

The cremated remains of Howard will be flown by Honorable Means Transfer, guarded by military personnel, to Des Moines prior to July 19 and will be met there by family members. They will then be escorted to the Lange Funeral Home in Centerville and held until the service on the 19th by the Iowa Patriot Guard.

On the morning of July 19, both the Iowa and Missouri Patriot Guard will escort the fallen soldier and the family from the Lange Funeral Home in Centerville to the Sunset View Cemetery north of Moulton for the graveside service where Bobby will finally be buried with his father. The service will include a 21-gun salute, playing of TAPS, flag presentation and a sobering Air Force fly-over.

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