Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TOP STORY >> Airmen’s body to come home

The body of an Arkansas airman, who died in a plane crash nearly 65 years ago in Alaska, will be returned here Friday with full military honors.

Little Rock Air Force Base officials will receive the remains of Staff Sgt. Robert Dale Van Fossen at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Van Fossen, a graduate of the Greenbrier High School Class of 1949, and 51 others have been resting on an Alaskan glacier since 1952.

Their plane’s wreckage was discovered in 2012, when efforts began to recover the bodies.

In March 2016, Van Fos-sen’s family was notified that a positive identification had been made and that his remains would be returned to Arkansas, according to a news release from 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs.

Van Fossen was one of 41 passengers onboard a Douglas C-124A-DL Globemaster II that crashed into Mount Gannett on Nov. 22, 1952.

Nicknamed “Old Shaky,” the plane was flying from McChord Air Base in Tacoma, Wash., to Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska. Its crew of 11 also perished.

The passengers were members of all four military branches. Van Fossen was in the Air Force at the time of the crash. He had also served in the Arkansas Army National Guard.

The Patriot Guard will escort his body from the airport to Heber Springs for burial in a family plot.