‘Lost Eagles’ author: Arlington Cemetery mixup part of problem dating back to WWI

by Heather Newman on June 17, 2010

More book detailsBlaine Pardoe, author of dozens of military novels and the upcoming Lost Eagles: One Man’s Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars, comments on the news that hundreds of veterans’ remains have been misplaced by Arlington National Cemetery:

“The recent revelations about the handling of veterans remains at Arlington National Cemetery have captivated the country. There are many reasons this has caught such national attention – mostly because it seems that we, as a people, should be better equipped to deal with our most honored dead.

“The reality is, however, this has happened before.

“In writing Lost Eagles I came across the instance of pilot Lyman Case as an example. Shot down in WWI, his remains were recovered by Frederick Zinn.

“Like all servicemen whose remains were recovered, his family was given the option of having him buried in France or returned home. The trip home for Lyman Case took two years.

“When his body arrived at home, his mother asked to see his remains. She must have sensed something was wrong, a maternal instinct that would be hard to deny. What she found was not an aviator, but a Marine Corps officer. Somewhere between his interment in France and the trip home, Lyman and two other officers became mixed up and misidentified.

“In an era before CSI or DNA testing, the Quartermaster Corps tracked down the three men and got them finally sent to their final resting places.

“The story of Lyman Case reminds us all that this is not a new issue or problem but one that the military has struggled with for decades. It also reinforces for us the need for us all to make sure that such mistakes do not take place in the future.”

Lost Eagles describes how Frederick Zinn developed the system for identifying planes and airmen downed behind enemy lines that is still in use today.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: