72 years later, a World War II pilot is coming home

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Spartanburg, SC (WHNS) — It’s been more than 70 years since anyone last heard from Dewey Gossett. But now, decades later, the 23-year-old World War II pilot will return home to the Upstate.

It hasn’t been an easy road to return Officer Gossett to U.S. soil. It took years of research by his family. But on Thursday the flight with Officer Gossett’s remains will land at the GSP airport.

Nora Messick has worked to make sure her great uncle’s remains return home, even though she’s never met him in person.

“Grandma used to talk about him all the time and would show his pictures and we had letters of his, so I’d read through his letters growing up.”

Messick said her great uncle was just 23 years old when he died in 1943, while on duty as an Army Air Forces Flight Officer.

“We were told he was on a strafing mission in Italy and there was a bad storm and they had flown into a ravine. They had only been gone about 10 minutes and they ended up turning back and when they turned back, three of the planes went one way and his went the other, and that’s where they last saw him.”

She put in years of research to find out where his remains were located. During that process she found out about The Defense POW MIA Accounting Agency, which works to help families find their loved ones lost at war.

They put her in touch with a group of Italian historians, Association Salerno 1943, who would end up finding Officer Gossett’s remains.

“They climbed Mount Acerno in Italy and found his plane. The first time found some pieces of the plane and they went back three or four times before they found his remains,” Messick said.

DNA from family proved the remains were that of Officer Gossett. And now, all these years later, he is coming home.

The flight with Officer Gossett’s remains will land around 8 p.m. Thursday.

The Honor Guard will be there, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders, and family members. The funeral will be held on Monday, and Officer Gossett will receive full military honors, including a flyover.

If you are looking to find a family member who was lost in a conflict, you can get in touch with The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). For more information visit the DPAA website or call 703-699-1420.

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