Topeka WWII Pilot's Sacrifice Honored 70 Years Later

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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (WIBW)-- Its been nearly 70 years since Lt. Verne Gibb of Topeka lost his life. Wednesday, soldiers, Army Honor guards and Patriot Guards gathered at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery to pay their respects to the World War II Veteran U.S. Army Air Forces Second Lieutenant.

"Today we are honoring one of our fallen comrades," said Joe Martin, Deputy Commander General.

"We are honoring a fallen veteran who 70 years ago was in a plane to do a mission," said Thomas Poulter, Patriot Guard.

During the World War II, 22-year-old Lt. Gibb was piloting a routine flight C-47B Skytrain aircraft from Burma to India. His plane crashed and the plane, 5 occupants and Lt. gibb were never seen again.

More than 60 aerial searches were flown to try and find the crewman. Reports say it wasn't until 30 years later a Burmese National found his remains and gave them to a priest. The priest passed away in and passed the remains to an American School teacher in 2002. Scientists found that the remains matched to Gibb's sister.

Lt. Gibb's family asked to not speak, however, Phyllis Anderson is a long-time friend of Lt. Gibb's daughter, she says she learned that Gibb was found in a Christmas card.

"I got a Christmas card from her and in there was the note about her father being found, I mean his remains, and after 69 years he was going to come home," Phyllis cries.

Those in attendance say Lt.Verne Gibb will be forever loved and missed.

"We never forget, you never forget a fallen soldier," said Glenn Larson, Patriot Guard.

"We helped this family achieve some closure. The family will never forget. No one should ever forget that we will never leave one of our fallen heroes behind," said Martin.

Bill Owensby with Department of Veterans Affairs told 13 News that Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery is closed to new casket ceremonies and since Lt. Gibb was Killed In Action, he was allowed a memorial at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.