Monday, July 17, 2017
1st Lieutenant William J. Gray Jr., an American fighter pilot during WWII, lost his life while attempting to carry out a bombing mission near Lindau, Germany in 1945. The family he left behind endured their grief without Gray's body as nothing could be recovered after Gray's plane clipped a tree and crashed. Over seventy years later, investigators working on a separate recovery mission happened upon Gray's bones embedded in the roots of a tree in Lindau. The remains were flown to Seattle, Washington and are now buried next to Gray's best friend, Jim Louvier. After the war, Louvier married Gray's sister and fulfilled a pact the pair had made to care for the other's family if one did not make it home.
See Jessica Chia, Remains of WWII Fighter Pilot Who Died During a 1945 Mission over Germany Are Found Embedded in the Root of a TREE and Returned to His Family More than 70 Years Later, DailyMail.com, July 15, 2017.
Special thanks to Molly Neace for bringing this article to my attention.