April 03, 2013

Flags lowered to honor World War II casualty

Under a proclamation signed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, the United States flag and the Illinois flag are to be at half-staff at all State of Illinois facilities in honor of an Illinois soldier whose remains from World War II have been positively identified.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff until sunset, Wednesday, April 3, in honor of U.S. Army First Lt. John Terpning of Mount Prospect.

Terpning was a pilot of a B-24D Liberator that left Papua New Guinea on a bombing mission in May 1944 when the plane experienced mechanical issues. The aircraft, Terpning, and nine other crewmembers were not seen after takeoff.  The War Department declared the crew presumed dead in 1946.

An investigation in 1973 found wreckage corresponding to the plane and human remains. The remains were buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery in 1974. A subsequent examination of the crash site in 2008 yielded additional wreckage evidence and remains.

Forensic evidence, including dental comparisons and DNA comparisons with Terpning’s brother assisted in identifying First Lt. Terpning’s remains, according to reports.

Terpning will be buried with full military honors in an individual grave in Arlington National Cemetery.