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WWII Airman to be Laid to Rest in Iowa Saturday

DennisPeeters/Wikimedia Commons
Nelson's remains were classified "unknown" and buried at Florence American Cemetery in Italy.

An Iowa airman shot down on a bombing mission over Italy 73 years ago will be laid to rest in his native town tomorrow. Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Byron Nelson of Primghar had been buried in Italy in a grave marked “unknown” until last year.  First Sgt. Peter Moeller of the Iowa National Guard says Nelson’s family was excited to receive the news that he had been identified.

“At first it comes with disbelief, you know this many years along, how did we come about finding him? The family was very excited," Moeller said.  "And, in many of these cases when it comes to repatriation it’s a welcome home, it’s a good thing.”

Moeller says the U.S. Department of Defense’s Accounting Agency is always searching for those missing in action. Nelson’s remains were identified through DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.  His memorial service with full military honors will be held in Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Primghar. The public is invited to attend.