73 Years later, North Carolina WWII pilot is finally coming home
RALEIGH (WTVD) — The body of Capt. Fulton P. Lanier is finally returning home.
Lanier, of Buies Creek, North Carolina, was officially declared missing in action as of January 31, 1944, after the C-87 he was piloting with a crew of four other U.S. Army Air Corps crew members went missing after taking off from Kunming, China. The World War II cargo plane was never seen or heard from after departing from Kunming for Jorhat, India. The U.S. Army issued a Finding of Death in January 1946.
In December 1993 and September 1994, a team from China and the United States led to the recovery of the plane’s wreckage and remains of the crew that crashed into a glacier in Tibet. Material evidence and remains were turned over to the Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii/Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. This led to a group identification, followed by a burial of the other four crew members at Arlington National Cemetery in January 1998.
In August 2015, a Chinese newspaper noted that remains were recovered at a site in Tibet. Advanced DNA testing was conducted and remains were positively identified as those of Capt. Fulton P. Lanier, U.S. Army Air Corps.
On Tuesday afternoon, a ceremony at Raleigh Durham International Airport will be conducted for the fallen World War II pilot.
A graveside service with full military honors will be conducted at 3pm, as well as the presentation of Capt. Lanier’s military awards and medals will be made to his niece, Virginia Lanier Powers, at Harnett Memorial Park in Lillington.
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