After nearly 80 years and being declared “non-recoverable” for over 70 years, Anthony Di Petta’s remains have returned to the United States.
The long-awaited homecoming of sailor Anthony Di Petta, whose plane was shot down in World War II, has finally taken place
The US Department of Defense confirmed the arrival of Anthony Di Petta remains back in the country on Friday, as reported by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
Born in Italy, Anthony Di Petta migrated to the US in 1921 and served as a US Navy Aviation Ordnanceman during World War II. At the age of 24, he lost his life during a mission in September 1944, where Anthony Di Petta’s aircraft was struck by enemy fire and crashed into the Pacific Ocean’s waters near the Palau Islands.
Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to locate the downed aircraft and recover Anthony Di Petta’s remains, joint investigations by Project Recover and the DPAA from 2003 to 2018 finally identified the crash site. Project Recover, formerly known as the Bentprop Project, conducted 14 dives, reaching depths of up to 112 feet, to locate the aircraft.
The nonprofit successfully recovered the remains of several missing service members, including Anthony Di Petta
The DPAA laboratory in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, performed tests on the remains, including dental analysis and mitochondrial DNA analysis by scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. In January, the remains were positively identified as those of Anthony Di Petta.
On Friday, July 7, Anthony Di Petta’s remains arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York, where a solemn scene unfolded. A flag-draped coffin was observed on the tarmac as individuals approached, paying their respects.
Anthony Di Petta will be laid to rest in Wrightstown, New Jersey, on July 11, as announced by the DPAA. This final ceremony will provide closure to Anthony Di Petta’s family and honor the sacrifice he made during World War II, bringing his journey in the Pacific Ocean to its poignant conclusion.