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A funeral delayed for 79 years

Army airman died in 1944, identified in 2023
Posted at 7:46 PM, Sep 15, 2023

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN) — In Sierra Vista Friday, the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery held a memorial for an Army airman killed in the line of duty 79 years ago but identified just a few months ago. It’s a story of determination to identify all fallen members of the service, and bring them home.

The honor guard, from veterans on motorcycles, to soldiers serving as pallbearers, honor the service and sacrifice of a man killed in World War Two. His remains waited 79 years for his identity to be confirmed.

Second Lieutenant Walter Miklosh was in the Army Air Corps. He was navigating a Boeing B-29, in a flight over the Himalayas. The route called the Hump sent planes through some of the most dangerous weather of World War 2. His plane crashed in India.

Over the years, military recovery specialistsmade repeated attempts to recover and identify his remains but it was May of this year before modern DNA techniques confirmed the identity.

After so much time, family members at this memorial did not know Lieutenant Miklosh. They are his nieces. But Judy Keating knows when the Lieutenant—her uncle— went missing, it led her father to get into the war.

“The only thing I knew of him was because he died, that’s when our father joined the Army and was part of the war effort.”

Robert Wolfe is married to Lieutenant Miklosh’s niece Bonita. His own service in the Air Force was dedicated to bringing injured service men and women home.

“My dad was in World War Two and Korea. And I had two brothers in Vietnam. And, I personally was in Desert Storm as an aeromedical evacuation on a C 130.”

For the military, Lieutenant Miklosh is proof of commitment— that the services will never give up, never stop working to bring everyone back, identify them and return them to their families.


Volunteers assist Veterans Cemeteries in a variety of ways, including making sure there is always a caring representative present when a veteran’s remains are interred. You can learn more at this link to the National Cemetery Administration.