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World War II airman's remains returned to Connecticut 80 years after Nazis shot down his plane

WWII airman's remains returned to Connecticut after 80 years
WWII airman's remains returned to Connecticut after 80 years 02:09

WATERBURY, Conn. -- The remains of a World War II airman from Connecticut are finally coming home 80 years after he died 4,000 miles away. 

In 1944, when Kenneth McKeeman's family gathered at a Waterbury church to say goodbye, no one knew where his remains were. 

"Everyone's understanding was that it was over water. So that the likelihood of finding any remains was very, very slim," said Michael McKeeman, who never knew his Uncle Ken. 

Kenneth McKeeman was just 23 when Nazis shot down his bomber in March 1944.

No one knew his remains were buried in a cemetery in France as an "unknown casualty" until the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency got in touch. 

"We will never stop looking for them and recovering them and bringing them home to their loved ones," said Sean Everette, with the agency. 

The DPAA searches the world for remains of unknown casualties and matches DNA to survivors, then brings home those who promised to serve and sacrifice. 

"The country also makes a promise to them and that promise is to never leave a servicemember behind," said Everette. 

At the Waterbury VFW, veterans were impressed that McKeeman is finally coming home to his family. 

"They're able to get closure on everything," said Army veteran Karl Steiner. 

"He deserves to be home, and shouldn't be buried someplace else. He should be buried here," said Marine veteran Larry Pierce. 

McKeeman's nephew said he thinks of his uncle's siblings, who have all passed on. 

"They just assumed the remains would never be found. So sadness for them," he said. "We're going to celebrate his life, what he did for us, the sacrifices he made." 

Kenneth McKeeman will be laid to rest at the State Veterans Cemetery in June. 

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