- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The remains of an Arkansas National Guardsman killed 65 years ago in a plane crash in Alaska have been returned to his home state.

Staff Sgt. Robert Dale Van Fossen was 21 when his plane went missing on Nov. 22, 1952, after he and other troops flew through harsh weather. Wreckage was found eight days later, but the remains of many of those killed weren’t found until 2012, when spotted by a Black Hawk helicopter on a routine training mission.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff until Sunday in honor of Van Fossen, who was also a U.S. Air Force enlistee. The governor signed a proclamation Wednesday saying the state was proud to bring Van Fossen home, “and to honor his life, accomplishments and service to his nation.”

Van Fossen’s remains were flown to Arkansas on Thursday. A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday.

The remains of 35 people have been recovered from the crash site, and teams are expected to continue searching the area in June. Van Fossen’s remains were identified through DNA testing last year.

Van Fossen’s nephew Kevin Caid said he waited for the day that he could bring home the remains of the uncle he never met.

“I had a dream that somehow, someday I wanted to bring him home,” Caid said.

Van Fossen’s remains were flown to Arkansas on Thursday. A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday.

Van Fossen joined the Arkansas National Guard while attending Greenbrier High School. After graduating in 1949, Fossen enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.


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