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After six decades, Aub Atkins comes home
KTBS. May 13, 2009 [ Read Article Online ]

Nearly 67 years after he died in World War II, the remains of Sgt. Aub Atkins Jr. came home today.

Atkins' remains were brought to a funeral home in Arcadia. On Saturday, he will be buried in the family plot at a cemetery in his native Claiborne Parish.

Atkins, 22, was among seven crew members killed on Dec. 5, 1942, when their plane went down in the mountains of New Guinea during a bombing run.

The B-25 came to rest in a water-filled crater. The remains couldn't be recovered during the war because the area was in enemy control. Subsequent recovery efforts were thwarted by large amounts of water in the crater and by an unexploded bomb among the plane's wreckage. But in 2005, with new technology, recovery crews stabilized the bomb and recovered remains of the crew, Atkins' family said.

Atkins' remains were identified using DNA. Before she died, one of his sisters had provided the DNA sample to the military.

"She did it hoping to find him," said Atkins' great-niece, Debbie Henry.

Atkins' remains were identified at a military lab in Hawaii. They arrived at the airport in Dallas-Fort Worth this morning and were brought home to Louisiana by a military and civilian law-enforcement escort.

A memorial service will be held Saturday. Burial with full military honors will follow at Salem Cemetery in Athens.

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