A B-24 bomber flying a World War II mission over the Himalayas in 1944 crashed into a mountainous region of northeastern India. The lost crew included two Vermonters; Capt. William A. Swanson of Proctor, the pilot, and Lt. Irwin "Zipper" Zaetz of Burlington, the navigator. One year ago, a mountain climber trekking through rugged terrain 9,000 feet above sea level discovered a portion of a wing with numbers identifying the plane, the Hot as Hell. He notified relatives of the crash victims. They turned to a Department of Defense task force for help recovering the remains. The joint command has brought home members of the armed services who paid the ultimate sacrifice in extremely challenging locations all over the globe, from cliffs in Papua, New Guinea, to 16,000-foot peaks in the Himalayas, "How is it then," Senator Bernie Sanders asked in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, "that the Department of Defense cannot send a recovery team to an ally's country to recover the remains of American servicemen?"
The Burlington Free Press published an article on Sunday about the World War II plane crash, the mountain climber's discovery, and the efforts by the families to have their relatives remains returned to the United States.
To read the article, click here.
To read the letter form Senator Sanders to Defense Secretary Gates, click here.