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Killed In Action        January 12th, 1962        Killed In Action

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

  • Polar Record, Cambridge University Press, U.K.   [Published: 00APR2010]
  • The Times Free Press   [Published: 30NOV2009]
  • The Florida Times-Union   [Published: 05MAY2008]
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette   [Published: 17APR2008]
  • The Herald-Palladium   [Published: 06DEC2007]
  • Townhall   [Published: 18JUL2005]
  • Sunnmørsposten Newspaper   [Published: 25OCT2003]
  • The Peoples News   [Published: 04JAN2004]
  • Washington Times   [Published: 17NOV2003]
  • Reykjavik Newspaper   [Published: 20 and 24SEP1966]
  • The Washington Times   [Published: 10NOV2003]
  • The Herald-Palladium   Joseph, MI   [Published: 22JAN1962]
  • The Herald-Palladium   Joseph, MI   [Published: 12OCT1962]
  • The Herald-Palladium   Joseph, MI   [Published: 17JAN1962]
  • The Herald-Palladium   Joseph, MI   [Published: Date Unknown]
  • The Argus Champion Newspaper   Newport, New Hampshire   [Published: 22OCT2003]
  • The Herald-Palladium   St. Joseph, Michigan   [Published: 27OCT2003]
  • Gazette-Democrat Newspaper   [Published: October 13, 1966]
  • The White Falcon   Volume VII Number 8   Iceland   [Published: 30SEP1966]
  • Newspaper Unknown   [Published: 00JAN1962]
  • White Falcon   [Published: 20JAN1962]
  • Navy Times   [Published: 14APR2003]
  • Florida Times - Union   [Published: 14JAN1962]
  • Florida Times - Union   [Published: 14JAN1962]
  • Florida Times - Union   [Published: 18SEP1962]
  • Clay Today   [Published: Date Unknown]
  • Florida Times - Union   [Published: 01OCT2001]
  • Newsweek   [Published: 12JAN2000]
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette   [Published: 18SEP1966]


  • Killed In Action
    Polar Record
    Cambridge University Press, U.K

    April 2010


    By Dr. Kent Brooks

    Polar Record is an international, peer-reviewed scholarly journal publishing results from a wide range of polar research areas. The journal covers original primary research papers in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, life sciences, and polar technology, as well as papers concerning current political, economic, legal, and environmental issues in the Arctic or Antarctic.

    Notes, book reviews, letters to the editor, obituaries, and 'In Brief' items of general interest are also published. Polar Record provides rapid publication, normally within nine months of initial submission.

    The Polar Record has been published at Cambridge University since 1931

    Mr. Pettway

    The loss, discovery, and rediscovery of the crew of U.S. Navy LA-9 at Kronborg Glacier, east Greenland Kent Brooks Geological Museum, Oster Voldgade 5.7, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark (kentb77@live.com) Received April 2010

    ABSTRACT. In January 1962, a US Navy aircraft patroling the Denmark Stait mysteriously disappeared. In spite of an international search continuing over several weeks, the crash was first found accidentally 4.5 years later by geologists, but subsequently it was discovered that all the bodies had not been returned. It was not until 2009 that the story was brought to a close with a ceremony at the naval air base in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Throughout the cold war the west was concerned that Soviet submarines could enter the Atlantic from their bases in the White Sea area using the seaways on each side of Iceland. Of these, the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland was the most significant. Continous monitoring to detect the passage of such vessels was done by the US Navyfs Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit based in Jacksonville, Florida, through its aircraft stationed at the NATO base at Keflavik in Iceland.

    Just before 0800Z (GMT) on 12 January 1962, a P2V5 Neptune (Fig. 1), designated LA-9 and with 12 personnel on board, took off on a routine patrol mission. The flight plan anticipated a triangle north from Iceland, then southwest about 60 km (40 miles) off the coast of Greenland, then returning to Keflavik after an estimated time of 8.5 hours (Fig. 2). They were to fly low, under 660m (2000 feet), and records show that the weather was very bad with strong winds, snow and heavy cloud cover. In fact, visibility was probably close to zero. A message from Kap Tobin (70. 24 52N 21. 58 35W) in Greenland confirmed gale force winds (60 knots) from east northeast, obscured ceiling and heavy snow for the whole day. LA-9 reported its position after one hour, according to procedure, but this was thought to be in error as it was to the west of the intended route. (It would later transpire that this was on line to the ultimate crash site). Between 1000 and 1100Z, base communications heard weak and unreadable signals from the aircraft, which ceased at 10.53Z. At 11.25Z the base issued an alert and at 13.05Z a second Neptune was launched with orders to try to establish radio contact with LA-9. A further two aircraft took up the search without result and just after 2000Z a distress signal was released. LA-9fs fuel was expected to be exhausted by about 2200Z and the last of the search planes returned to Keflavik at five minutes past midnight.

    The following day eight search aircraft were launched, but again their efforts were hampered by bad weather with poor visibility and low ceilings, and their efforts were fruitless.

    On 14 January, 10 search aircraft, including some from other NATO countries, were sent out and, although weather conditions were much improved, there was still no result. These operations were continued until 19 January, when they were called off. In retrospect, it seems that only one aircraft, a C130 (Hercules), searched the area of the crash site and that was not until about one week after the crash, when the wreck may have become snow covered.

    As one member of the search crews pointed out, there was only about four hours of daylight at these latitudes at that time of year. Another, R. Franklin recalls waving to the crew of LA-9 as his plane lined up with them for take off. Later, he first realised that they would not return when he saw the duty officer and two enlisted men making an inventory of the personal effects of the missing men. The aircraft had only recently come to Iceland from Rota in Spain; this was its first flight out of Keflavik. Cdr N. Kozak, a veteran of World War II, the Berlin airlift, and the Korean conflict, had just taken command. Some of his crew, including the navigator, B.C. Smith, were new, and the flight surgeon, J.A. Brown, had just gone along to keep up his required flying hours.

    In the summer of 1966, a group of four young geologists, of whom one was the author, on an expedition from Oxford University were proceeding slowly up the Kronborg Glacier (which discharges into the sea at about 68. 30N on the east Greenland coast), dragging sledges loaded with their equipment. They observed a collection of black rocks on the ice, silhouetted by the brilliant sunshine in their faces. Later, on looking back, they were surprised to see a US insignia on one of the rocks and realised they were not rocks at all, but aircraft wreckage. Even greater was their surprise when they discovered many, largely preserved, bodies amongst the wreckage. The scene consisted of twisted metal, tangles of electrical wiring, personal effects, cans and jars from the pantry and the aircraftfs huge engines lying on the ice where they had rolled after being torn off by the impact.

    The plane had crashed at the side of the Kronborg glacier (Fig. 3) on an area of relatively uncrevassed ice and at sufficiently low altitude that now, in the middle of summer, the snow had melted from the glacier surface leaving bare ice. The geologists were not in a position to do anything, not being in touch with the outside world. They collected a few articles, such as wallets with names, and carried on with their work. At the end of their expedition, the geologists returned via Iceland and delivered these items at the US Embassy.

    It was now well into September and the geologists recommended that a recovery mission was inadvisable that year. It was therefore with surprise that they received a letter from the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in Iceland thanking them for their assistance and describing a rescue operation mounted from the icebreaker USS Atka between 20 and 22 September 1966. They also received letters from Mrs W.J. Madey of New York, sister of Cdr. Kozak, expressing her thanks and relief that the mystery of the disappearance had now been cleared up.

    They were also informed that some of the crew had been laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery and others buried privately.

    In 1995, almost exactly 30 years after the original discovery of the wreck, the author was flying in the neighbourhood in a helicopter. He happened to mention to the Swedish pilot that there had once been an aircraft crash in the area but probably nothing now remained. Immediately the pilot went into a steep turn and headed for the site. Indeed there were still remains.

    Aircraft parts, now much smaller (the recovery team had blown up wreckage) than before were soon spotted. The helicopter was hovering a few feet off the ground when suddenly the pilot said that there were human remains down there. This was a real surprise. It had been understood, apparently by all involved, that all remains had been returned to the United States for burial.

    The author reported the existence of human remains to the police authorities in Nuuk, Greenland, as is required. He was later informed that nothing would be done due to lack of resources.

    Some time in 1997, Mrs. Y. Nelski of Coloma, Michigan, received a phone call from D. Latimer of San Diego, a former airman who had been transfered from the crew of LA-9 just prior to the fateful flight. He asked if she was a relative of Joseph Renneberg, one of the crew members who had perished.

    When she said she was, he was her nephew, she was informed that more remains had been found on the ice (it is unclear to the author how this news had been disseminated). She did not know if the casket at the funeral she had attended with her now-deceased mother and daughter had in fact contained his remains. The only way to be certain was to return the remains and compare them with a DNA sample from Mrs. Nelski.

    In 2001, news of this discovery reached R. Pettway of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who had been in the same squadron in Rota, Spain and knew many of the lost crew personally. He was naturally disturbed and puzzled as to who had been returned and who not. He wondered why the original recovery operation was apparently mounted in such haste and the plane blown up if bodies were still on board. Would a new recovery operation be organised?

    Pettway learned of the United States Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (USACILHI) the task of which is to recover the bodies of US servicemen lost in combat, but not ‘Non-hostile unaccounted-for casualty cases.' The crew of LA-9 had fallen under this latter category. It is difficult to escape from the view, then, that the dead airmen were not the primary motivation of the recovery mission, but rather the destruction of the plane, with whatever instruments and documents it contained.

    Pettway's mobilised the relatives of the lost men, lobbied politicians, set up and ran a web site and wrote numerous letters to the navy and the press. When, in 2004, a television report, supported by this author's pictures, brought the story to the public, the U.S. Navy announced a new recovery mission.

    A 16 member recovery team under Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CNAL), departed Norfolk, Virginia, on 2 August 2004 and returned with the rest of the crew remains on 17 August. The recovery mission, which used cadaver dogs to find all human material, was organised by Tangent Expeditions of Cumbria, UK.

    The remains then were moved to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), Hawaii, and were then turned over to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) for identification before being returned to their families for burial. However, since some of the remains had been buried in the Arlington National Ceremony it was desired that the latest recovered body parts should go into the same graves. This was to be a problem since the army, which had jurisdiction over the cemetery, claimed that opening of graves was not permitted and it again took some years to sort out this problem.

    Finally, on 6 November 2009, about 200 people, with families and former crew mates, assembled at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, for the unveiling of a refurbished sister plane to the LA-9 and to hear tributes to the lost aviators. At the same time, Pettway received a special recognition medal and plaque for his tireless efforts. After almost 50 years, the saga was almost at an end, pending the final burial of the remains.

    All twelve crew members now have identified remains recovered. The army refuses to disinter the remains from 1966, but each family can now have a separate grave site in the Arlington National Cemetery or else in their home state. In Arlington, there is a ‘common casket' grave site and memorial for the crew members who were only partly recovered. Unidentified remains will be buried with the unidentified remains from 1966, under a gravestone with all twelve names. The Kozak family elected to have the newly recovered remains buried in a small box in the grave of their father in Arlington.

    The reason for the crash has never been discovered. It is possible that the aircraft was blown off course by gale force winds or there may have been a navigational error. The radar would have been inoperative in heavy snow (and would not reflect from glacier ice; there are many testimonies as to the inadequacy of the model of radar carried by the aircraft). The aircraft flew straight into the glacier at an altitude of just over 660m (2000 feet) when they thought they were over the sea where the maximum height of icebergs was reported as much less than this. Also, two essential pieces of equipment, the radar and radio-altimeter were allegedly repaired the night before the fateful flight although these may not have functioned under the prevailing conditions anyway. What seems certain is that all the crew died on impact as established at the original discovery by the geologists. Acknowledgements.

    I wish to thank Mr. Robert Pettway for keeping me up to date on his campaign and for hospitality in the USA. Cdr. Kozak's daughter, Mrs. Patricia Moscantioni of Orange County, Florida, six at the time of the event, provided memories. The information in this article comes from personal knowledge and the voluminous information on the US Navy website on which Pettway collected media stories: http://www.vpnavy.com/vp5mem_newsletter.html. I wish to thank the anonymous reviewers, especially the one who suggested many significant improvements.

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    Killed In Action
    Uncovering Fliers Frozen In Time

    Monday, Nov. 30, 2009


    By Todd South

    Sometimes Bob Pettway watches the movie and he still cannot believe it's real.

    The footage is on DVD now, transferred from old film long ago. Mostly it's dry stuff, a training video made for sailors who would fly U.S. Navy aircraft in the early 1960s.

    But there it is. He hits pause on the remote and, frozen in time in his living room, is a black-and-white image — an airplane, LA-9 on the tail fin.

    "Can you believe that?" he says.

    The plane is a P2V-7, one in a squadron of 12 U.S. Navy planes that scoured the seas looking for Soviet submarines during the Cold War. One day in 1962, plane LA-9 flew out of its base in Iceland and never came back.

    "That was their first flight out ... and they never returned from it," recalls Mr. Pettway, who was part of the squadron, known as "Mad Foxes."

    He'd only been with the squadron about six months but knew the men well. They worked together, played together, knew each other's families. Sitting in a hangar between missions one of the LA-9 crew members, Norman "Fisheye" Russell had taught him Morse code.

    The wreckage and remains of the crew were found in 1966 on Greenland, but it took almost 40 years before all the remains were back in the United States and all the families contacted.

    Much of that work was done by Mr. Pettway, a Chattanooga resident, who refused to give up on the fliers who had been his friends.

    This month, at a dedication ceremony in Jacksonville, Fla., for a refurbished P2V plane, the U.S. Navy honored Mr. Pettway for his service, more than four decades after he left the ranks and nearly 10 years after he began bombarding the Navy with requests to recover his fellow fliers.

    He was awarded the Superior Public Service Award for his efforts to bring those fliers home.

    "I had mixed feelings. Do you open up old wounds of all these family members?" Mr. Pettway said. "I wrestled with that and said, if it was me and my relatives that were up there, I'd want to go ahead and get them."

    The mission

    On Jan. 12, 1962, LA-9 took off on a nine-hour flight to cover 1,500 miles, sweeping northwest from the air station in Keflavik, Iceland, over the Denmark Strait, then looping back to Keflavik, according to Navy reports.

    But as squadron commanding officer Capt. Bob Smyth's journal recounts, "Winter weather in Iceland is very unpredictable — in an hour it can go from a hellish arctic blizzard to a ‘springtime in the Rockies' kind of day."

    His journal entry recounts the events from the air station that day after the plane took off at 8 a.m.

    "At 1130 we still had no contact," he wrote. "Every radio station in Iceland, Greenland and Europe was trying to contact LA-9. The clock crept ahead — no position reports. Its estimated arrival time of 1600 passed, but LA-9 did not return."

    Up to 16 aircraft at one time searched the seas and coastlines for a week but found nothing. Mr. Pettway said everyone assumed the plane went down in the ocean.

    The team notified the Navy and, within a month, a Navy search crew made it to the site to investigate. Winter had begun and more than 2 feet of snow covered much of the remains. The team had less than 24 hours to gather what they could, according to reports.

    Of the 12-member crew, seven were identified using technology available at the time. A mixture of the unidentified remains went into a plot at Arlington National Cemetery with the names of the five men who could not be identified.

    For the 12 families, the squadron and the Navy, the story had ended.

    But decades later, they would learn that the 1966 recovery mission was only the first chapter.

    A knock at the door.

    Patty Masciantoni remembers eating cereal in her home in Jacksonville, Fla., when there was knock at the door. She was 6 then and she had a different name, the same as her daddy's — Cmdr. Norbert Kozak, the pilot of the LA-9.

    The search ended, and the Navy listed the crew as presumed dead. Mrs. Masciantoni's mother had to move off the base.

    "I remember asking her, ‘Why are we moving?'" she said. "I was thinking he was going to come back."

    Eventually Cmdr. Kozak would return, but it would take almost 40 years.

    Mr. Pettway left the Navy and later started a career with the U.S. Secret Service. For 26 years he protected the president and other dignitaries and tracked counterfeiting operations, the last 13 years in Chattanooga.

    A few years after he retired in 2000, curiosity got the better of him. He had stayed in touch with some of his Navy buddies, and he and his wife went to reunions for the old squadron. He'd always wondered what happened with the LA-9 crew, the crash, the crash site and anything else he could learn.

    So he tracked down a mailing address for Dr. Brooks in Copenhagen, Denmark, and sent him a letter that included his e-mail address.

    "In his very first e-mail to me, he told me about going back in 1995," Mr. Pettway said.

    In that expedition, Dr. Brooks had flown over the crash site and seen exposed human remains atop the ice, Mr. Pettway said. The doctor had contacted Greenland, who told the U.S. Navy about the discovery but, as far as Mr. Pettway could find, nothing had been done.

    "That didn't sit real well with me," he said.

    So he decided to do some work himself.

    "I thought, naively, all you got to do is dial up the Navy and tell them they're there and they'll get them," he said. "I found out that isn't the way it works."

    The former Secret Service agent knew it would be an uphill battle, but one worth the fight.

    "To get what you want sometimes you have to make enough noise," he said.

    The fight would take mountains of paperwork, national media attention and countless e-mails, but four years later the Navy sent an icebreaking-ship into the area and a crew with forensic scientists collected all remains from the site.

    Those remains were returned in 2004.

    Mrs. Masciantoni said learning that some of her father's remains were left on the ice angered her. That they would be left behind, then not recovered after the 1995 discovery, shocked her. She since has talked with a member of the 1966 recovery crew and learned of the challenges they faced in the operation, she said.

    She said the four-year process for recovery and the last five years working for DNA matching of the remains — completed for all 12 crew members this spring — were "emotionally draining."

    "There were times I just wanted to give up," she said. "But then there would be Bob with another e-mail. If he had not taken the role that he did, I don't think it would have happened."

    She credits Mr. Pettway most for bringing her father home to rest.

    "He is just an extraordinary man," she said. "I know Bob must have been discouraged at times, but he would always sign his e-mails with, ‘We will prevail.'"

    But even after nearly half a century, the story has not ended.

    "The final closure is still coming," Mr. Pettway said.

    Remains of the other seven crew members will be buried in the plot that now holds the five previously unidentified fliers' remains sometime early next year.

    Mr. Pettway plans to be there.

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    Killed In Action
    Remains Recovered, But Crew Still In Political Limbo

    5/3/2008 - 11:16 pm


    By MARK WOODS, The Times-Union
    Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com

    The Navy patrol plane crashed into a glacier in Greenland in 1962.

    It took four years to recover any of the remains.

    It took nearly 40 more years - and the prodding of family and fellow crew members from the Jacksonville-based VP-5 squadron - for the Navy to return to Greenland and bring home more remains.

    That was described as a final recovery mission. A "100 percent successful" final recovery, the leader of it said.

    But after four more years, there is little finality.

    Some of the unidentified remains from the 1966 recovery still are in a common grave in Arlington National Cemetery. Section 46, Plot 754.

    Some of the remains from the 2004 recovery are in a lab in Hawaii.

    With DNA testing, it finally is possible to give the family and friends of the 12 crewmen - five whose names are carved into the stone at Plot 754 - something they've been trying to get since the P-2V Neptune went down on Jan. 12, 1962.

    Some of them talk about "closure." Some talk about a "proper burial." One has said that might mean a grave in Jacksonville.

    All figured that what they convinced the Navy to do in 2004 - send a 16-member team back to the crash site - would bring some kind of end to the saga.

    "We thought we'd won the battle," said Robert Pettway, a former member of the VP-5 squadron. "We never saw this coming."

    What came, and is standing in their way, no longer is the thick ice and snow in Greenland. It isn't the absence of DNA testing. It isn't conflict with some foreign government.

    It is conflict within our government.

    Army vs. Navy.

    At issue is Plot 754.

    The 1966 recovery led to the identification of seven crewmen. Each has his own gravesite. The unidentified remains were put in the common grave. And although there are five names on that stone - John A. Brown, Anthony F. Caswick, Alan P. Millette, Joseph W. Rennenberg and Grover E. Wells - nobody knows for sure who is buried there.

    The 12 families want the Arlington remains to be disinterred and identified. Each family has submitted a DNA sample to the lab in Hawaii. The lab has submitted an official request to get the first remains. The Navy has pushed hard for it.

    The sticking point?

    The Army, which controls Arlington National Cemetery, has rejected it.

    "It's a bureaucratic nightmare," said Pettway, who became a Secret Service agent and now lives in Tennessee.

    The Army's resistance, Pettway and others believe, stems from the fact that there are several dozen group graves at Arlington. Some contain thousands of remains dating back to the Civil War. The Army is concerned that if it allows the Greenland crash remains to be disinterred, it will open the door for a flood of requests.

    "But this case is unique," Pettway said. "There's not another one like it."

    The battle has led to both sides tossing back-and-forth an alphabet soup of statutes. The Arlington superintendent has said federal law defines burial there as "permanent and final" - and that rigid standards for disinterment haven't been met. The VP-5 family members argue that the way some of the standards are laid out, specifically for single graves, they can't meet them.

    So the saga continues.

    One of the people who has devoted a lot of time to this - writing letters to politicians, talking to military officials, contacting media - is Patricia Kozak Masciantoni.

    She was 6 years old when the plane crashed. Her father, Cmdr. Norbert Kozak, was the pilot and executive officer of the VP-5 Madfoxes. His remains were recovered and identified in 1966. Yet, for Masciantoni and her family, the fate of the common grave remains quite personal.

    "This is his crew," she said.

    Masciantoni, who now lives in Orange County, says the 2004 recovery helped comfort her. In the 1960s, of course, she had to deal with the idea of her father dying in the crash. But as the years had passed, she had to deal with the idea of him surviving it.

    "I imagined him hurt and unable to get help," she said.

    So she felt a sense of relief when she met with the head of the 2004 recovery mission. All the crew, she was told, had died on impact.

    She remembers when the Navy recovery team ended its 11-day mission and returned home. That brought a sense of completion.

    Her father's crew was coming home. The whole crew.

    Four years later, though, it still is in this odd, uncertain limbo. Some remains, identified but undisclosed, in Hawaii. Some unidentified remains in Arlington.

    "I'm 53 and this still is going on," she said.

    She and others have sent letters to Robert Gates, the secretary of defense. She has been contacting U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's office. She has been asking for help with Plot 754.

    She wants the final recovery mission to bring finality.

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    Killed In Action
    REST IN PEACE
    Family presses Army to identify remains of C.R. Navy crewman

    Thursday, April 17, 2008


    Byline: Steve Gravelle
    Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com

    Rusty Wells was a talented musician, a pretty good athlete and about to become a father for the third time when his Navy plane went missing on a routine anti-submarine patrol from its base in Iceland in 1962.

    "He was an excellent guitar player," brother Bobby Wells recalls of Rusty, who lived in Cedar Rapids. "It was something that just came natural to him."

    Bobby Wells also joined the Navy, just like Rusty, his older brother.

    "Eleven months and three weeks older," Bobby Wells, 68, said one recent afternoon at his Central City apartment. "For one week a year, we were the same age."

    Forty-six years after his death at age 24, the family of Rusty Wells -- friends and family preferred his nickname to his given name, Grover -- is trying to discover where his remains lie -- in a mass grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia or in a military mortuary in Hawaii.

    The families of the others who died in the 1962 crash of Wells' plane want to know about their loved ones, too, and the Navy concurs.

    But positive identification of remains recovered on two occasions decades apart has so far been blocked by a dispute between the Navy and the Army, which controls Arlington.

    "The Navy wants to get it closed," said Bobby Wells. "The Army says, 'No you can't.' It's just government bureaucracy."

    Responding to family requests, members of Congress are asking the Department of Defense to convene a meeting of both service branches to discuss the case.

    "Some of these cases were solved favorably after the Department of Defense convened senior working groups," said Semonti Mustaphi, staff member for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Staff for Sen. Chuck Grassley and 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack also took on the issue after letters from Bobby Wells.

    Rusty Wells' presence aboard the twin-engine P-2 Neptune aircraft put LA-9's disappearance on the front page of the Jan. 13, 1962, Gazette, right beneath the day's top news, the death of television pioneer Ernie Kovacs in a California car crash.

    The news hit the Wells' southwest Cedar Rapids neighborhood hard "because he was thought so much of," said Rusty Wells' mother, Macel Wells, now 89. She now lives in southeast Cedar Rapids with her daughter, Donna Eiselstein; another brother, Roger Wells, also lives in Cedar Rapids.

    At the time, the search for the plane was fruitless. For four years the Navy and family members assumed LA-9 was lost at sea. But in August 1966, a geological survey team from Oxford University stumbled across the wreckage on the Kronborg Glacier on Greenland's east coast. Mainly to ensure the aircraft's classified equipment didn't fall into the wrong hands, a Navy team was put on the glacier the following month.

    The team destroyed the classified gear and collected the remains of 10 crewmen. Dog tags and dental records identified seven bodies that were buried, three at Arlington.

    The remaining three bodies were buried at Arlington in a common grave under a headstone bearing the names of the other five crewmen, including Rusty Wells. Bobby Wells and his mother attended the ceremony.

    "They did that in 1966 just to give the families a little peace," said Bob Pettway, a member of LA-9's squadron and a friend of Rusty Wells. "But they did it knowing there's not five remains, there's only three."

    Kent Brooks, a member of the 1966 Oxford group, returned to Greenland site with another survey team in July 1995. Out of curiosity, Brooks directed the team's helicopter to the crash site. Instead of being buried beneath decades' worth of ice and snow, the wreckage lay exposed as the glacier's ice pack had thawed.

    The team landed briefly and photographed two fairly complete sets of remains, but worsening weather quickly forced it to leave.

    It would take nine years for the Navy to return. Meanwhile, Pettway, retired and living in Tennessee, researched the fate of LA-9. Pettway's search led him to Brooks, who told him of the second discovery.

    "He told me ... there were still (unrecovered) remains," he said. "That just did not sit right."

    After more lobbying of the Navy, another team was finally sent to the glacier in August 2004. The remains recovered then were sent to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii.

    DNA technology that didn't exist in the 1960s allowed the laboratory to identify the final two remains. But the findings haven't been released, and a final accounting of LA-9's crew is stalled because the Army has rejected the Navy's request to disinter the Arlington remains in the mass grave.

    "I am 99.9 percent sure that one of those skeletons (found in 1995) was my brother," Bobby Wells said. "We thought maybe there was going to be some closure to it."

    In rejecting the Navy request, Arlington's commander cited federal law defining burial there as "permanent and final" and setting strict standards for disinterment. But Pettway interprets the law as applying only to single graves, not group burials in which new methods could identify commingled remains.

    "What the Army is worried about -- there's well over 30 group graves, some with thousands of remains in them going back the Civil War," he said. "I think what they're worried about is there would be an avalanche of requests."

    Bobby Wells, a Vietnam War veteran, expects Rusty's three daughters would want to bury their father in Jacksonville, Fla., where two of them live.

    "We want to see the five bodies that have not been buried, be buried before we are," Bobby Wells said. "All we want to do is get them buried."

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    Killed In Action
    Loved ones still waiting for word on Navy aviator missing since '62:
    Remains from crash site may include those of ex-Coloma resident

    Wednesday, December 6, 2007


    By Michael Eliasohn
    H-P Staff Writer
    Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com

    Three years after their recovery, the remains of the last two of 12 Navy aviators who died in a 1962 plane crash in Greenland continue to be unidentified.

    One of them may have been Joseph Renneberg, who lived a couple of years in Coloma when he was a teenager.

    But the identification of five of the crew members, including him, has been delayed because of military bureaucracy.

    Renneberg, who lived with his grandmother in Coloma, was a technician on the P2V5 Neptune that crashed Jan. 12, 1962, while patrolling for Soviet submarines. He was 23 when he died.

    The plane wasn't found until 1966, after which a Navy team recovered the bodies of 10 of the crew members.

    Seven of them were identified, primarily from dental records, and were buried at Arlington National Cemetery or in family plots, according to Robert Pettway, who served in the same squadron as those who died in the crash.

    The three whose remains were not identified were buried in a common grave at Arlington. The tombstone lists the names of all five unidentified crewmen, including Renneberg.

    In 1995, a geological expedition found the two remaining crew members. But it wasn't until August 2004 that a Navy team brought their remains back to the United States.

    Pettway, from McDonald, Tenn., led the effort to get the Navy to make the recovery mission. Renneberg's half-sister, Renee Adrian of Maple Park, Ill., and niece, Yvonne Nelski of Coloma, are still waiting to hear if the recovered remains included those of Renneberg.

    "All I know is they haven't told me if it's my brother," Adrian said Wednesday. "That's as far as I've gotten."

    "It's been so long," Nelski said. "We'd just like to have it settled once and for all."

    Renee Adrian and her sister, Adrienne Stowell of Canton, had the same mother as Renneberg but a different father. After their divorced mother disappeared, Joe Renneberg at age 13 went to live with his grandmother - Nelski's mother - and the two girls lived in a Christian group home in Wheaton, Ill. The family had lived in Chicago, and Renneberg returned there to attend high school.

    Part of the problem in identifying the final five crewmen, Pettway explained in an e-mail, is that it was a violent crash and parts of all 12 crew members were scattered over an area the size of several football fields.

    To identify the remaining fliers using DNA technology requires exhuming the remains of the apparently three crewmen buried in the common grave in Arlington.

    "We don't know who the remains recovered belong to or to how many individuals," Pettway said in the e-mail. "They could be identified by MtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) to (belong to) any of the 12 crewmen. Maternal DNA samples were obtained from a surviving family member of each of the 12 crewmen for that reason." He said the Armed Forces DNA Lab has completed testing of the remains recovered in 2004 but is now awaiting disinterment of the remains in the common grave at Arlington.

    But the administrators of the cemetery, who are part of the Army, so far have refused to give permission to exhume the remains, though an official request was made by the military's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, according to Pettway. He said the exhumation should have been done in the fall of 2004.Once that's finally done, he wrote, "It will still take up to a year or longer for the exam to be made and the final report to be issued and arrangements made with the affected families for the disposition of the remains."

    Contact Michael Eliasohn at meliasohn@TheH-P.com.

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    Killed In Action
    Frozen in time
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JohnMcCaslin/2005/07/19/frozen_in_time
    Tuesday, July 19, 2005


    By John McCaslin
    Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com

    The last time we heard from George G. Fabik was when the retired naval officer drew attention to the remains of five U.S. Navy airmen sitting above ground in Greenland, where they perished in 1962 while hunting for Russian submarines.

    "They are not under ice, but visible every summer when the snow melts," he told The Beltway Beat. "This has to be considered a national disgrace. They did die in the service of their country."

    So Fabik and others, including Bob Pettway, a former Navy radio operator and retired Secret Service agent, set out to bring the remains home. And some 42 years later - in September 2004 - a U.S. military and civilian team successfully completed the mission.

    At the time, Mike Maus of the Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, told us by telephone from Norfolk that a recovery of bodies is as important for the Navy as it is for families.

    "We in the Navy feel very strongly about not leaving anybody behind - ever. We always want to bring our people home," he said.

    Do they?

    This week, Fabik told us that a similar recovery mission at a separate naval crash site was set to begin this December. "Then the roof caved in," he says.

    "A Navy seaplane involved in the mapping of the Antarctic continent in 1946 with Admiral Richard Byrd crashed after hitting a mountain," he educates. "Of the 10 crew on board, seven survived and three died.

    "After the recovery of the Greenland aircrew, plans for the recovery of the remains in the Antarctic were set in motion. People from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey and others were brought together. A Chilean Air Force aircraft with ground penetrating radar was sent to the site and pinpointed the location of the wreckage."

    Even a geologist working in the area forwarded his notes to the Navy "and everything was set for a recovery in December 2005-January 2006 (that's summer in the Antarctic)," Fabik notes.

    It is the retired aviator's understanding that the recovery mission was scrubbed by Rear Adm. H. Denby Starling II, who became the 26th commander of Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, in July 2004.

    He paraphrased the admiral as saying such a mission would be "too dangerous for my sailors."

    "I flew the same flights as these men, so I know what they were doing for our country," says Fabik, who served 30 years in naval aviation before his retirement. "Now, what do the families do?"

    There still may be hope.

    Requesting anonymity, an officer for the Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk told this columnist that "there has been no hard decision" either way on the proposed mission, adding that a final decision "still resides with the chief of naval operations."

    "We did look at it. It was studied," the officer said. "But our recommendation was that it was far, far, far too risky."

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    Killed In Action
    The Last Ice Patrol of LA-9
    Sunnmørsposten Newspaper
    October 23, 2003


    by Johannes Alme
    (Permitted Posting)

    The P2V5 Neptune Aircraft

    The engines in the airplane where the type " Wright R-3350-32W2, 18 cylinders radial machinery. The wingspan was for 31,65 meters, the length 27,94 and the height 8,94 meters. Empty the airplane would have hold a weight at 22 650 kg, while fully loaded it would have had a weight for 360240 kg. The airplane type was in production from 1945 to 1962.

    The equipment for the model was listed to; Radar with a searching ability for 250 nautical mile, and an AN/ASQ-8 Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) system.

    Earlier there were installed a double 50 millimetre machinegun in the nose of the plane. A double 20 millimetre machinegun both forward and backwards of the plane at the upper deck. All the muzzles were remote, but the recharging and the gunfire was manually confined. A point in this was that by fire backwards the airplane gain speed, almost 5 knot, but by fire forwards the speed where homologous reduced.

    The arming of the airplane were removed in 1957, and replaced by a more efficient surveillance equipment, and a place for observations. The offensive part of the equipment were intact, there where missiles, bombs, torpedoes and deep-sea bombs.

    So you may ask, what is it in such a surveillance tour?

    The crew that were going on this mission, together with a reserve crew started the preparation for a 36-hour trip before take-off. The crew counting 11 people where briefed on the airway, weather, ship and submarine activities in the area, special instructions and unusual orders. The briefing was finished with a question - answer round. Accordingly the crew on the special surveillance equipment one and all got their own briefing.

    Tactical air raid where usually taken in bright daylight, and the airplane returned after dark. The regular speed where 170 knot. The maximum time in air where 15 hours, the regular time in air where 11 hours. There where search for submarines and other battleship, also registration of all other crafts. The vessels where inscribed/registered, their photograph taken and information as speed, conduit, position and information about deck cargo where registered. To obtain all information possible the airplane got down to 200 feet, about 1000 feet from the ship. Each crewmember had their own duty. Everything was to be noted, such as creation of the aft and fore ship, the profile on the hull, where the superstructure where placed, number of masts and where they were placed, the chimney and their markings, cranes etc. All in all the characterization of a ship. When the weather was bad this was a dangerous work, the ideal would be that all notes where taken at the first flyover but rarely the airplane had to make several flight over each ship.

    The Polaric

    Expedition tours with the shipping crafts in the arctic sea were a relaxation from herring fishery and sealing. The trips at sea often went to places that were new and never visited before, and you could meet interesting people with colorful personality.

    In such a perspective one may say that the trip with "Polaric" in 1966 was no exception. That the history should be changed with such dramatic, within politics and connections up to today, none of the crew could imagine.

    At 06:58 a.m. on January 12. 1962 an American reconnaissance aircraft LA-9, by the type Lockheed P2V Neptune, goes airborne from NAS Keflavik, Iceland on Island. The plan is to fly a reconnaissance triangle path up north to Scoresbysund on Greenland, follow the Blossville coast of Greenland southwest down to 65N, 37W and return east to Keflavik, Iceland. The flight attitude was set on 2000 feet and the airborne time estimated to eight and a half hour. There are 12 men onboard. This was the first trip after the airplane, with captain Norbert J. Kozak and his crew came to Iceland, after being stationed in Spain.

    The airplane was as said a Lockheed P2 Neptune Aircraft. The model was P2V-5F. The airplane was designed as a submarine chaser, and the Danish straits between Iceland and Greenland was the area where Russian submarines used to enter the Atlantic Ocean. This model of the plane had two jets and two propellers. The type could carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, now the airplane was carrying conventional weapons. The experience from the second world war, result in American focus on airborne support according to operations at sea, particularly in the fight against submarines.

    Because the plane and crew had just arrived to Iceland, their first trip was to be practice, so that the crew could learn how to deal with temperature and conditions in the area. As a supplement to the regular crew, there was a medical doctor from the military hospital in Keflavik on board, bringing the flight crew total to twelve men.

    The first report from the airplane arrived at 09:20 and the position given are mistaken by Keflavik. The weather is bad, it is windy with bad visibility. Later on it has been shown that the position given was in a straight line from NAS Keflavik, Iceland to the crash sight in Greenland.

    In the meantime between 10:45 and 10:53 Keflavik can hear indistinct radio signals from the LA-9, trying to reach Keflavik.

    At 11:25 Kelfavik reports of no contact with LA-9. At 13:05 another airplane of the type Neptune P2V goes airborne from Keflavik, destination 65N, 37W trying to make radio contact with the LA-9. Yet another plane is directed to the last given position at 16:32, given the task to seek from that point further on to Scoresbysund. After another hour a third plane goes up to seek in the area from the north cost of Iceland, over the Danish straits and in to Greenland. At 18:30 Scoresbysund reports through Southern Strømfjord that no plane has been observed or heard that day. This is the first indication of the plane never reaching the first spot in the triangle. At the same time the weather station on Kap Tobin reports storm from east-northeast, dark sky and heavy snow all day.

    At 20:13 the situation is reported, the calculations show that the airplane was holding fuel to be airborne until 22:00. At 00:50 the last search airplane lands. The route that the LA-9 was supposed to take has been searched and nothing spotted. Maybe not so strange, visually there are low cloud ceiling, wind at 60 knot with a direction on 080 degrees.

    The next day, January 13 1962, there are eight airplanes seeking for the LA-9. The weather situation is like the day before, causing visual search to be difficult. Next day there are 10 planes in the air searching. The visual are much better, up to 10 mile. The area of the search goes from Scoresbysund in the north, to the coast in southwest and the pack ice in east. So there is small activity over Greenland.

    The search continues for eight days, but only once on Jan. 18, 1962 did a search airplane fly over the site where the LA-9 was later found at 68 degrees 33 minutes north, 28 degrees 33 minutes west. So the time goes and the findings are none the conclusion are that the plane has crashed into sea.

    The summer 1966 a ship from Brandal, Norway, the sealer Polaric has been chartered by Cambridge / Oxford / Sheffield university in England, for a geologic trip to the east coast of Greenland.

    Olav Aasmo is captain,
    Birger Brandal  Chef officer
    Peder Sulebakk  Machinist
    Johan Arild Skarbakk  Assistant
    Olav Bjørgås  Steward
    Harald Knutsen  Able seaman, English-speaking
    "Zeeland"  Able seaman
    Einar Arne Røren  Mess boy

    One of the expedition members are Dr. Kent Brooks, the leader are Professor W. A. Deer.

    "Polaric" leave Brandal, Norway the second week of July, 1966. The target is Grimsby, UK, to take onboard the expedition. But when the harbor administration learn about the great deal of gasoline onboard (2 200 gallons) the request are repulsed. With assistance from Mobil the expedition can load their cargo in Kings Lynn, UK. "Polaric" reach Kings Lynn on the morning of July 12. and yet another problem arise. Although the "Polaric" only weigh 150 tons, the ship goes 14 feet down astern, 2 feet more than the harbor captain found to be a proper condition for entering the harbor with the water on that time of year. There were sand banks that could move, but early on Saturday morning July 16. the ship enters the dock, load the gear instantly, and by midnight they leave the harbor.

    The first five days in the sea are according to Professor Deer's `s report tough. Especially the first two! With the reel and the stamping. But on the sixth day they approach the ice and the temperature fell, the conditions were endurable. On the 23 of July they encounter the pack ice, nearly 70 nautical mile of land. July 24. they reach Sjærgårdbasen. After landed the expedition in the southern area, "Polaric" set course for Iceland, in Reykjavik they collect airborne expedition lot. This lot, four members, are landed in the Wiedemanfjord, Greenland after over sailing in bad weather of fog and packed ice. The next months "Polaric" are sailing up and down the coast with the expedition members, they land in the most incredible places, where they carry fuel driven drills to drill for rock samples. The expedition members who are living on the ship are landed in the morning and fetched in the evening. Several of the depots are robbed, the Eskimos locate them, find the sweets and think of it as their. They left canned fruit and biscuits for the expedition members.

    On August the 8th, four geologists are on the Kronborg glacier, two of them accidentally walks across the wreck of the LA-9 airplane. All four of them spend the evening at the wreck, the front of the plane is burned out, but the rest of the plane is almost intact. The same pass for the deceased. The one's in the front are partly in pieces but the one's in the back are whole. They all look as if they died momentary. The wreckage is scattered over a large area, the findings are knifes, survival suits, rafts, oxygen bottles, nautical radio and some luggage as toys meant for the children at home. Various in the findings led them to belief the crash had taken place in January 1962. Dr. C. Kent Brooks, now a university professor at the University of Copenhagen was at the site.

    A few days after the finding of the wreck the expedition try to reach "Polaric" by radio they did not succeed. On September 3 the "Polaric" returned and collected them. They decide for the ship to go for Iceland, and there notify the American embassy about the findings. The crew on "Polaric" hear about the airplane, but are strictly told to keep quiet, this is not to talk about!

    The American embassy on Iceland was informed, and the expedition discussed the possibility to return with the "Polaric" to the site. Due to the time of year the expedition never went back. After at trip to Greenland for the equipment the expedition returned to Iceland to seek shelter for the weather on the way back to Kings Lynn, UK. On September 17, 1966, the "Polaric" arrived to be welcomed by family, journalists and others to see "Polaric" for the special ship she was. The journalists had got hold of the story about the airplane, wanting photography of the wreck and the crash sight. Their request was courteously rejected. After discharging "Polaric" returned for Ålesund on September 19.

    The 17. September 1966 Ruth Anne Kozak, the widow of Norbert Kozak gets a telegram that her husband has been found dead on a glacier in Greenland.

    An Icelandic/American expedition, eight from the Icelandic rescue service and seven from the American military, and at September 19. the American icebreaker USS "Atka" sails for Greenland and the crash sight. They bring two helicopters along to reach the glacier and the wreck.

    On place they find that it has been snowing, and the job to clear away 3 to 4 feet of snow starts. As told before, the wreck was scattered over some range, this cost some trouble in the clearing of the site. There are no big parts of the airplane left, but after collecting secret material and other documentation, the mortal remains, the biggest parts where blown up before the expedition left the site and flew back to USS "Atka".

    Back in America seven men get identified, put down to coffins and burial with honors. The captain, Norbert Kozak, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, among colleagues and friends he flew with in the Second World War, the Korean War and the airlift over Berlin. His wife pronounced peace in her soul the day she got him home and buried, as the six other widows they had a grave to turn to. The one, who did not get home their loved once, did not get message either.

    And so the story should have ended, but unfortunately or fortunately the story of the crew on LA-9 did not end here.

    A summer day in 1995 another geologic expedition is on site on the Kronborg glacier. They are in a helicopter, and chief of the expedition is the earlier mentioned Dr. C. Kent Brooks who was at the same sight in 1966. The pilot and Dr. Brooks can see the plane wreckage, and they can see mortal remains on the site.

    Occurrence gets a retired Secret Service agent Hr. Robert (Bob) Pettway in contact with Dr. Brooks. Pettway had a long interest for the LA-9. Pettway arrange the information he gets to reach the family of captain Kozak. This caused shock, and they start collecting information on the case.

    "You never leave your crew" Said Mike Kozak, Captain Kozak`s younger son. Since he was captain on the trip, he also was responsible for the crew. In his absence, his children decide to take transaction. "Our father can no longer be a counselor on behalf of his crew, so we take on this job to make sure his reputation is being protected and to see a real closure on this matter" say's his son Mike Kozak.

    The Kozak family got information about the human remains confirmed by "The Missing Personnel Group, at U.S. Department for Navy Personnel" . The navy did not have any comment on why they did not take all the mortal remains back home in 1966. Maybe it was the snow and the bad weather, maybe it was other findings of more importance?

    The retry towards American authority to get them to take responsibility for the remains did not succeed. After the Kozak children increase in the case, there are started an operation for bringing the mortal remains back home in the USA. To bring the men home and give them a decent burial.

    The future will show if the relatives can succeed in their work, after more than 40 years can they get their relatives back home……

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    Killed In Action
    The Last Ice Patrol of LA-9
    The Peoples News
    January 4, 2004


    The Last Ice Patrol of LA-9
    by Cecil Owen

    This story is not concerning World War 1 nor World War ll. but it is a very special story that everyone should be informed and concerned about.


    The date is Friday January 12th 1962, and the place is the Naval Air Station at Keflavik, Iceland. It is 7:58 am, on a very cold and windy morning, in fact some would say that blizzard conditions existed. Winds were blowing across the ice at around 70  knots (miles per hour.) A VP-5 Navy Neptune Bomber No. 131521 designated LA-9 of patrol squadron five was warming up. The Neptune Bomber was a very versatile airplane that was used for several different types of missions. It was a two engine propeller driven aircraft, with two small jet engines for assistance when needed. The cruising speed was around 180 knots. The crew usually consisted of four officers and seven enlisted men but LA-9 had an extra member, flight surgeon Dr. John Brown. He had to log enough flying hours every month to keep his wings. LA-9 carried no bombs, instead it was packed with secret electronic equipment used to track Russian submarines under the water. Actually this was the job of patrol squadron five, keeping track of all Russian submarines that came through the Denmark Strait. This was part of the Atlantic ocean and the shortest route from Russia. It flows between Iceland and Greenland.



    This was supposed to be a routine eight and one half hour ice patrol mission. LA-9 was not the regular airplane scheduled for this patrol, which was in the hangar. The LA-9 was worked on all night, so it could be flown the next day. AT3 Joseph Hussey was the duty driver who drove the flight crew out to the plane. He recalls that the wind was so strong, he had to drive his vehicle at an angle because the wind was actually pushing it sideways. He also believes that one of the crew members, AT3 Allen Millette had a premonition concerning the flight. He said that he was sure they would not return from the flight yet he willingly went aboard the plane in order to perform his duty for his country!

    So the Navy Neptune bomber 131521 LA-9 took off from the naval air station at Keflavik, Iceland, and flew into eternity!!!

    They were supposed to report their position every hour during the flight. The first report came on time, but the plane was much too far west and that was the last report ever received. When LA-9 became overdue the Navy launched a massive search by air and sea. After eight days no trace was found, so the search was canceled. All twelve families were notified that the plane had crashed into the ocean and all onboard were lost. The United States Navy closed the case.



    Now the date is Friday August 8th 1966, almost five years later. Four British geologist explorers from Oxford University are on the east coast of Greenland. The group was led by the well known Dr. C. Kent Brooks, who first spotted the wrecked airplane. They were traveling across the Kronborg Glacier, located on the eastern coast of Greenland near the Denmark Strait. The wreckage was scattered over a wide area, with several partly mummified bodies inside the fuselage. This is a very primitive and remote area and the four Geologists were isolated here for a whole month. But a month later they returned to Iceland and reported the crash site to the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. On Friday September 19th 1966, a team of 15 members was put together; 5 Marines, 2 Navy and 8 members of the Icelandic Sea/Ground Rescue Service.

    The icebreaker USS Atka was used to transport the recovery team to Kap Raven, Greenland. The next day, the ship's helicopter flew the men and their equipment to the glacier crash site. However,  during the time the wreckage had been found and the time it took the recovery team to reach it... four feet of snow had fallen. So it took the team 24 hours to clear away the snow around the plane. They had to spend the night on the glacier,  sleeping in tents. The next day, the bodies of seven crew members were recovered, along with the partial remains of possibly three other crewmen. The seven identified crewmen were returned to the United States and buried in Arlington National Cemetery and in various cemeteries according to the wishes of the families. The unidentified remains were buried in a "common" grave plot in Arlington National Cemetery with a marker containing the names of the other five crewmen. Again, the United States Navy closed the case.

    In August of 1995, Dr. C. Kent Brooks was head of another team of geologist explorers, in the same region. Much to his surprise, he found the crash site again. He did not think that anything would still be there, as the Navy was supposed to have blown the plane up (Because of the secret classified electronic equipment onboard.) As his helicopter hovered over the crash site, he was horrified to see human remains. The snow had melted from around them and they were clearly visible. Pictures were taken and sent to the Navy Casualty Division, BUPERS. The Navy discussed a second recovery attempt that same year but nothing ever came of it.

    In March of 2001, a group of the deceased crewmen's family members, shipmates and friends begun a nationwide effort to alert Congress and the general public. Many letters have been written to Congress, and newspaper articles published also. The story of LA-9 Neptune Navy Ice Patrol Mission has also been broadcast on talk shows.



    The Navy has stated that because the plane crashed in peace time, it cannot fund the recovery attempt. Congress has passed recovery legislation, but only for military personnel lost during war time. (WW ll. Korea, Vietnam) But in  February of 2003, a recommendation was made from the Navy Casualty Division, BUPERS, to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations that an office of responsibility be assigned, and also funding be appropriated to handle the situation. That is what is holding everything up now, waiting for the decision of the Chief of Naval Operations.

    The person who has pushed this project from the beginning is Robert T. Pettway of McDonald Tennessee, who was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Iceland. He was there when this tragedy took place, and was a personal friend of the plane's crew members. He has spent countless hours of labor and used personal finances for this cause. He has even obtained DNA samples from all crew members families and shipped them to the Navy! It is a shame and disgrace that the United States Navy has been dragging feet all these years. Those servicemen died in the service of their country. We welcome all support for this worthy cause. Please write your Congressional Representatives and demand that the United States Navy recover the remains of these crewmen from LA-9 Navy Neptune Patrol Bomber 131521. That they might be given a "Burial with Honor" where they belong, in the Arlington National Cemetery.

    Editor's note: We were surprised to learn that the remains of US servicemen were lying unprotected on the surface of the Kronborg Glacier and that the US navy had failed to bring them home after so many years. The People News join Robert (Bob) Pettway and Cecil Owen in urging you to contact your congressman to rectify this shameful situation.
    Congressman Zach Wamp: (423) 756-2342 Chattanooga office.
    Congressman John Duncan: (423) 745-4671 Athens office.


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    Killed In Action
    Are we devoid of a national conscience?
    Washington Times
    November 17, 2003


    Are we devoid of a national conscience?

    I refer to the "Inside the Beltway" column of John McCaslin for Monday, November 10, 2003. He titled his column pieces "Veterans in Need", "Fiscal Behavior", and "Why eat out?".

    Mr. McCaslin's point is well taken. While our government leaders cannot find the funding to recover U.S. sailors' remains from a glacier in Greenland, where they have lain for more than 40 years, Congress continues to spend at record pace on such items as turning an employee cafeteria into a gourmet restaurant in the State Department building.

    What does this say about our nation's spending priorities? Where is honor? Where is our conscience?

    ROBERT T. PETTWAY, SR.
    U.S. Secret Service (Retired)
    McDonald, Tenn.

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    Killed In Action
    Reykjavik Newspaper
    Morgunbladid
    September 20th and 24th, 1966


    "...The interpretation of the icelandic newspapers were routinely done at NAS Keflavik, Iceland to review the local press coverage. Typically, the reporters made some errors in their articles, especially in the body counts of the recovered remains. John Bastien had the interpreted English version, along with the newspapers themselves..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [26NOV2003]

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    Return to TOP of page!


    Killed In Action
    Veterans in Need
    The Washington Times
    November 10, 2003


    "...Inside The Beltway - Veterans in Need - By By John McCaslin - The Washington Times..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [13NOV2003]

    The Washington Times, November 10, 2003
    Inside the Beltway
    By John McCaslin

    Veterans In Need

    Veterans Day is tomorrow - no better time to call attention to the remains of up to five U.S. Navy airmen still sitting above ground in Greenland, where they perished in 1962.

    "They are not under ice, but visible every summer when the snow melts," reveals retired naval officer George G. Fabik of Allentown, Pa., who says that, despite letters to Congress from surviving family members over the years, "nothing has ever been done to bring them home."

    "They were last seen in 2001," Mr. Fabik says of the bodies. "This has to be considered a national disgrace. They did die in the service of their country."

    Yesterday, Inside the Beltway spoke with Bob Pettway, a retired Secret Service agent, who from his Tennessee home has taken up the cause to bring the remains home for a proper burial.

    Here's what Mr. Pettway knows:

    On Jan. 12, 1962, a dozen naval crewmen departed NAS Keflavik, Iceland, aboard a P2V-5 Neptune aircraft designated LA-9 of Patrol Squadron 5. The crewmen were flying a routine 8½-hour ice patrol when the plane suddenly vanished. A search and rescue was launched in a blizzard, but after seven days, the plane was presumed lost at sea and the men were declared dead by the Navy.

    On Aug. 8, 1966, four British geologists from Oxford University were traversing the Kronborg Glacier on Greenland's east coast and happened upon the crash site - the plane's fuselage still intact. They took identification from several of the bodies and promptly reported the crash site to U.S. officials.

    A Navy recovery team arrived at the site Sept. 20, just after a snowfall measuring between 3 and 4 feet. They spent 24 hours digging through the deep snow to recover what remains they could, then detonated explosives to destroy the aircraft and any classified materials and equipment.

    The team recovered seven identifiable bodies and partial remains of possibly three more crewmen, which could not be identified. Remains of two crewmen were not recovered. The seven were buried either at Arlington National Cemetery or in family plots, while a separate Arlington ceremony was held in October 1966 for the unidentified remains - buried in a common grave bearing the names of the remaining five.

    In August 1995, exploring geologists again came upon the LA-9 crash site, where they photographed the remains of at least two crewmen. But the Navy took the position that because the plane crashed during peacetime, it did not fall within the scope of "full recovery" rules approved by Congress during wartime.

    "Hence, there is no funding for recovery of remains lost during peacetime in a mishap," Mr. Pettway says.

    Finally, this past February, the Naval Casualty Division of the Bureau of Navy Personnel recommended to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) that funding be allocated for a "complete recovery" of the LA-9 crew. The families still await the CNO's decision.

    Fiscal Behavior

    Here's an interesting tidbit for Republican lawmakers to cite on the campaign trail: House Democrats in the last Congress called for an average of $417.6 billion in new spending - nearly 13 times more than the House Republican total of $32.3 billion.

    In fact, some lawmakers today who are putting a frightful face on federal deficits are "masking" high-spending legislative agendas that would actually worsen the problem.

    So concludes the latest BillTally study released by the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation, finding that only 26 lawmakers in the previous Congress had legislative agendas that would reduce overall federal spending, while 32 lawmakers would raise the annual budget by more than $1 trillion - the most lopsided levels ever recorded in the project's history. "Taxpayers hoping to see federal spending restraint will be disappointed to learn that the 107th Congress took a long holiday from this task," said NTUF senior policy analyst Demian Brady.

    The foundation's cost-accounting system computes a net annual agenda for each member of Congress. Within the 107th Congress, a record-high number of bills were identified as having a fiscal impact of at least $1 million (1,186 in the House and 851 in the Senate).

    A record-low of 26 representatives sponsored bills that, if enacted all at once, would reduce federal spending. And get this: not a single senator had a net cutting agenda.

    Why eat out?

    The multimillion-dollar renovation of the State Department's headquarters continues, with the cafeteria reopening last week and touting several new fancy menu items: oysters Rockefeller, clams casino, shrimp, mussels, calamari, stuffed crab, crab cakes, souvlaki, Greek salads and stromboli baked in a "state-of-the-art" brick oven.

    "Complete your meal or take an afternoon break with a cup of coffee from Starbucks," adds a State Department memo to employees.

    John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com

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    Killed In Action
    Ex-Colman Is Given Up For Lost
    The Herald-Palladium
    January 22, 1966


    "...Articles from Staff Reporter Michael Eliasohn, who found them in the archives of The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, MI..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [10NOV2003]
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraPage 1 of 1

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    Killed In Action
    Rites Set For Flier Lost In 1962
    The Herald-Palladium
    October 12, 1966


    "...Articles from Staff Reporter Michael Eliasohn, who found them in the archives of The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, MI..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [10NOV2003]
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraPage 1 of 1

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    Killed In Action
    Ex-Resident On Navy's Missing List
    The Herald-Palladium
    January 17, 1962


    "...Articles from Staff Reporter Michael Eliasohn, who found them in the archives of The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, MI..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [10NOV2003]
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraPage 1 of 1

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    Killed In Action
    Body Found After Years On Glacier
    The Herald-Palladium


    "...Articles from Staff Reporter Michael Eliasohn, who found them in the archives of The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, MI..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [10NOV2003]
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraPage 1 of 1

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    Killed In Action
    Woman Fights To Have Remains, Frozen In Antarctica, Returned
    The Argus Champion Newspaper
    By Brock Rutter
    Staff Reporter


    "...The Argus Champion Newspaper, Newport, NH, on October 22nd, 2003..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [31OCT2003]
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraPage 1 of 2
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraPage 2 of 2

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    Killed In Action
    Woman Wants Navy To Recover Bodies Of Crew From 1962 Military Plane Crash.
    By MICHAEL ELIASOHN
    H-P Staff Writer
    October 22nd, 2003


    "...The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, Mich., October 27, 2003 from Michael Eliasohn..." Forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [29OCT2003]

    Mr. Pettway,

    Here's the article, which ran in The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, Mich., Oct. 27, 2003. Go ahead and put this on your Web site. Please credit it to the H-P (name of paper, town and date).

    I'll send you a paper copy and copies of the 1962 and 1966 articles.

    Thanks for your help and for the update you e-mailed me and keep me posted on future developments. Mrs. Nelski called today to thank me for the article and also said she would keep me updated on developments.

    Mike Eliasohn

    A proper burial?

    Woman wants Navy to recover bodies of crew from 1962 military plane crash
    By MICHAEL ELIASOHN
    H-P Staff Writer

    COLOMA - A relative of a former Coloma man killed in a military plane crash in 1962 is trying to prod the Navy into finding out if his remains, thought to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, are instead still on a glacier in Greenland.

    Joseph Renneberg, who spent some of his teen years with his grandmother in Coloma, was 23 and one of 12 men aboard a Navy P2V5 Neptune reconnaissance plane that crashed Jan. 12, 1962.

    It was the height of the Cold War, and Neptune crews hunted for Soviet submarines that might fire nuclear missiles at the United States. Crews in northern climes also looked for icebergs in order to warn ships.

    Renneberg was a technician aboard plane LA-9, which took off from Iceland, was to fly along the coasts of Greenland, and then return. It disappeared from radar 2-1/4 hours into what was to be a 9-hour flight.

    Renneberg was raised by his grandmother, Marcelle Merrill, at Paw Paw Lake, from age 13, after his mother died, until he moved to Chicago to attend high school. His parents were divorced. He joined the Navy in 1958.

    Now, Merrill's daughter, Yvonne Nelski of Coloma, doesn't know if the casket for the funeral she attended in 1966 with her now-deceased mother and daughter included his remains.

    Coast Guard and Navy vessels searched the coasts of Iceland and Greenland before giving up the hunt for the crashed plane.

    It wasn't until August 1966 that British geologists on an expedition found the scattered remains of the plane and its crew.

    The Navy dispatched an icebreaker and helicopters to recover the remains. But by the time the recovery team got there, on Sept. 19, said Robert Pettway, who was in Renneberg's squadron, "The site was covered by 3 to 4 feet of snow, so they had to dig the snow away to find anybody."

    Making the task more difficult was the wreckage was scattered over two to three acres. News reports about the recovery effort said it appeared the plane flew straight into a glacier and exploded.

    It isn't know why the plane crashed, according to Pettway. There was a snowstorm going on and the plane may have had problems with its radar and altimeter.

    Pettway said seven bodies were identified. The partial remains of three crew members could not be identified.

    He said the identified bodies were buried by their families. The unidentified remains were buried in a common grave at Arlington National Cemetery, marked by a headstone with the names of the five unidentified sailors, since it wasn't known which three of the five unidentified or still missing sailors they were.

    In August 1995, another geological expedition happened on what was left of the crash site and the remains of two more crew members. One of the expedition members also had been on the 1966 expedition, Pettway said, and notified the Navy.

    "The Navy discussed going back and making a full recovery, but they didn't do it," he said.

    Pettway said that Congress passed a law that requires the military to make a maximum effort to recover the bodies of soldiers left behind in World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

    "But there is no legislation that covers peacetime (military) mishaps," Pettway said.

    Nelski didn't know about the 1995 discovery until, "A couple of years ago, I got a telephone call and the fellow said who he was and wanted to know if I was a relative of Joseph Renneberg."

    The caller was Don Latimer of San Diego, who said it is believed one of the two bodies found in 1995 is that of her nephew, Nelski said. He later asked if she would be willing to give a DNA sample to make a positive identification if the body is recovered.

    Latimer was transferred to another squadron shortly before the fatal crash.

    "We suspect one of the bodies is Renneberg, because he was a technician who flew in the rear of the plane," Pettway said. He said it's suspected the other body found in 1995 was the other crew member who sat in the rear, Grover Wells.

    Nelski, who was six years older than Renneberg, said even if the remains aren't her nephew, she wants them and the other sailor brought back, since they are someone's relatives.

    "Just because it wasn't wartime, those boys were still in the service," she said.

    Nelski said she plans to contact U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.

    "What we need is public awareness to put pressure on Congress and the Navy to clean up this mess," said Pettway, who knew 11 of the 12 crew members.

    He said the Navy Casualty Unit in February recommended to the chief of Naval Operations that the two bodies in Greenland and three bodies remaining from a military plane crash in Antarctica in 1946 be recovered, but no decision has yet been made.

    "The Navy, I think, wants to do it ... it's just a matter of money and priorities," Pettway said.

    On the Web: VPNavy, an organization of veterans who served on Navy patrol aircraft, has a section of its Web Site devoted to the LA-9 crash: http://www.vpnavy.com/vp5mem.html

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    Killed In Action
    Mrs. Ossie Parker Received A Telegram Saturday Telling Of Her Son, Frankie Parker, Among The Missing In The Navy Plane Accident
    October 13, 1966
    Gazette-Democrat Newspaper


    "...I received this from Darrel Dexter of Anna, IL...Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com..." [11AUG2003]
    VP-5 Mishap ThumbnailCameraFrank Earl Parker

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    Killed In Action
    Icebreaker Returns With Bodies From Greenland Crash Site
    The White Falcon
    Volume VII Number 8
    U. S. Naval Station, Keflavik International Airport, Iceland
    Friday, September 30, 1966


    "...I received these White Falcon (NAS Keflavik, Iceland) news articles today from Maria Ulsfardottir, Public Affairs Office, Icelandic Defence Force, NAS Keflavik, Iceland...Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com..." [11AUG2003]
    VP-5 History ThumbnailCameraIcebreaker Returns With Bodies

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    Killed In Action
    Iowan On Lost Naval Plane


    Iowan On Lost Naval Plane article submitted by Larry Dean Jones mail4ldj@yahoo.com (ATN3 Radio Operator Crew 11) and forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [15JUL2003]
    VP-5 History ThumbnailCameraIowan On Lost Naval Plane

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    Killed In Action
    Navy Plane With 12 Aboard Missing
    Extensive Search By Air, Sea Fails To locate P2V-5


    Navy Plane With 12 Aboard Missing article submitted by Larry Dean Jones mail4ldj@yahoo.com (ATN3 Radio Operator Crew 11) and forwarded by Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [14JUL2003]

    UPDATE "...I received these White Falcon (NAS Keflavik, Iceland) news articles today from Maria Ulsfardottir, Public Affairs Office, Icelandic Defence Force, NAS Keflavik, Iceland. She researched them at my request. You have already posted Pages 1 and 2 of the 4 pages of the 1962 article (which we obtained from Larry Dean). She furnished the missing parts of the article and the name of the publication (White Falcon - Saturday, January 20, 1962) and date of article...Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com..." [11AUG2003]
    VP-5 History ThumbnailCameraNavy Plane With 12 Aboard Missing (Page 1 of 4)
    VP-5 History ThumbnailCameraNavy Plane With 12 Aboard Missing (Page 2 of 4)
    VP-5 History ThumbnailCameraNavy Plane With 12 Aboard Missing (Page 3 of 4)
    VP-5 History ThumbnailCameraNavy Plane With 12 Aboard Missing (Page 4 of 4)

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    Killed In Action
    Remains of patrol plane's crew still at crash site.
    By Robert F. Dorr
    (Printed With Permission)


    Special to the Times
    Navy Times
    April 21 Issue (Published April 14, 2003)
    Forwarded By Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [20APR2003]

    Waiting for permission to post entire article.

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    Killed In Action
    NAS Neptune Bomber Missing Near Iceland
    Florida Times-Union
    January 14, 1962
    Contributed via Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [17JAN2003]

    A Neptune patrol bomber attached to a Jacksonville Naval Air Station squadron was reported missing in the storm tossed North Atlantic yesterday.

    There are 12 men aboard the plane, including three from the Jacksonville area. They are:

    CDR Norbert J. Kozak, whose family lives at the Naval Air Station, the pilot.

    Aviation Ordnance Technician Grover E. Wells, whose wife, Nancy, lives at...

    Aviation Electronics Technician Robert A. Anderson, whose wife, Elizabeth, lives at...

    U. S. airplanes flew through gales and snowstorms yesterday in waters between Greenland and Iceland searching for the missing patrol plane. It should have returned to Keflavik, Iceland airport Friday.

    Winds as high as 75 miles per hour and visibility confined to 200 feet hampered the search but seven planes were sweeping the area with radar in the hope the plane may have come down on the ice pack.

    The plane left Keflavik Airport early Friday and reported two hours later, 270 miles northwest of Keflavik.

    20-FOOT WAVES

    The Icelandic Coast Guard joined the U. S. planes in the search. Fishing trawlers were alerted.

    The severe snowstorm in the waters between Iceland and Greenland was reported gy Navy headquarters in Washington. It said the wind churned up 20-foot waves.

    Any possibility of a surface search was ruled out by the high seas and poor visibility the Navy said. But the radar-equipped planes are able to operate.

    Ice packs, formed of ice floats jammed together, were reported extending about three-quarters of the way across the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.

    The plane was attached to Patrol Squadron 5, based at the NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Five of the squadron's planes are stationed in Keflavik and six in Spain.

    MISSING MEN

    The Navy said these men were aboard the missing aircraft:

    LTjg Anthony F. Caswick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leo R. Caswick of Chicago.

    LTjg Badger C. Smith, son of Mrs. Willye B. Hurd and husband of Patricia Smith, all of Washington.

    LTjg Michael P. Leahy, son of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Leahy of Wilmette, Ill.

    LT John A. Brown of the Medical Corps, son of Everett W. Brown of Meltrose, Mass.

    Aviation Electronics Airman Joseph W. Renneberg, son of Joseph Benneberg of Chicago.

    Aviation Electronics Techncian Norman R. Russell, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Norman R. Russell of Roseland, La.

    Aviation Machinist Mate Robert E. Hurst, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Hurst of Talladega, Ala., and husband of Phyllis Hurst of Dallas.

    And Aviation Electronics Technician Alan P. Millette, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Millette and husband of Virginia Millette, all of Vermillion, S.D.

    Kozak's home town was listed as New York Mills, N. Y., Wells as Cedar Rapids, IA., and Anderson as Madison, Wis.

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    Killed In Action
    Pilot's Wife Confident Husband Will Return
    Florida Times-Union
    January 14, 1962
    Contributed via Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [17JAN2003]

    "He'll come back. I have no doubt of it." said Mrs. Ruth Anne Kozak yesterday after hearing her husband and 11 crewmates were missing in the icy North Atlantic.

    If he does, he'll have his wife, four children including a set of 6-year-old twins and his mother to come home to.

    They are staying together for the time being in military quarters at NAS Jacksonville, Florida while CDR Norbert J. Koxak and the rest of Patrol Squadron 5 of Fleet Air Wing 11 are assigned to duty out of Iceland.

    Mrs. Kozak was officially notified her husband was missing yesterday. The plane was last heard from in a blinding snow storm Friday.

    "We're not writing him off," his wife said. "He's been in the Navy 20 years and has thousands of flying hours. He's got to be all right."

    Kozak, she said became Executive Officer of his squadron only last Wednesday. His family barely had finished celebrating his step upward when the disturbing news arrived.

    The Kozaks came to Jacksonville 18 months ago when he was transferred from NAS Pensacola, Florida. The children are 7, 6, and 6 and 3.

    His mother, Mrs. Peter Kozak, has a home at New York Mills, N.Y., but had decided to stay with the young family while the head of the house was tending to his ice cap patrol duty for a few months.

    The squadron is due back in Jacksonville in April. "He'll be with 'em when they fly in." Mrs. Kozak said in another reaffirmation of her faith in him.

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    Killed In Action
    Hope Faded Five Years
    Dies with Find on Glacier
    Florida Times-Union
    September 18, 1966

    The telegram came at 5 a.m. yesterday. Their mother, Mrs. Ruth Ann Kozak, had told them 4 1/2 years ago there was almost no chance their father, Cmdr. N. J. Kozak, was still alive. A British research expedition, moving across the bleak Kronborg Glacier in Greenland a few days ago, discovered the bodies of 12 U. S. Navy men where their plane had crashed into the ice on Jan. 12, 1962. Cmdr. Kozak had just been named executive officer of VP-5 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station when he left here for the flight. He was 40 and a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Berlin airlift. The Defense Department on Saturday had identified the bodies on the glacier as those of the 12 men, another of whom also was from Jacksonville. He was R. E. Hurst, an aviation machinist mate 2nd class.

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    Killed In Action
    Burial with Honors'
    Still Lacking For Some Victims
    ORANGE PARK
    Clay Today
    PO Box 1209 Orange Park, FL 32073
    904-264-3200

    'Burial with honors'
    still lacking for some victims

    By Doug Newton, Staff
    dougnewton1@hotmail.com

    For two short months, in the brief snowmelt of the arctic summer, the 39-year-old crash site is visible on the slopes of the Kronborg Glacier in eastern Greenland. The wreckage of the P2V Neptune bomber can be seen from the air from a great distance, but a closer inspection reveals more: The bodies of several U.S. Navy crewmen, members of Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5), Jacksonville Naval Air Station (NAS), remain scattered among the wreckage of the plane.

    Aircraft LA-9 departed Keflavik NAS on the morning of Jan. 12, 1962 to fly a routine patrol between Iceland and the coast of Greenland. Three hours later, the Keflavik communication center issued an alert to all stations that contact with LA-9 had been lost. Search and rescue operations were begun and continued for eight days, but the plane was not found. Search efforts were terminated on Jan. 19, 1962.

    In August of 1966, a geological expedition from Oxford University stumbled upon the wreckage of LA-9. Dr. Kent Brooks, a member of that expedition, wrote, "It was extremely eerie to come across the wreckage and bodies, which were partially mummified, in this remote location." In September, Brooks and the group returned from their expedition and were able to notify authorities. The Navy responded the same month, sending an icebreaker and helicopters whose mission was to clear the wreckage and recover the dead crewmembers.

    Some crewmembers' remains were indeed returned to American shores. Cmdr. Norbert John Kozak, the executive officer of VP-5, was on LA-9 that day and went down with the rest of the crew. His wife, Ruth Kozak Jacob of Orange Park, remembers laying him to rest: "I buried him in Arlington National Cemetery in October of 1966," she said.

    That could have been the end of Jacob's involvement, and was for many years, but last month she learned that some crewmembers' remains still lie within the wreckage of the P2V. "It was my son who found out," said Jacob. Michael Kozak, who his mom said has always been interested in knowing more about his father, had been corresponding with Robert Pettway, who had also been a member of VP-5 in 1962. Pettway had in turn been in contact with Brooks, who informed Pettway that he had revisited the crash site in 1995. Brooks wrote, "The most amazing thing to come out of this was that there were still human remains at the site, but precisely how many individuals I was not able to find out. What about the ‘burial with honors' we were informed about? I later alerted the police in Greenland to the presence of human remains at the site, but they said they didn't have the resources to investigate." The Missing Persons Group, Bureau of Naval Personnel, USN, has confirmed that human remains still exist at the site.

    Now Jacob and her children are active in trying to get the remaining crewmembers returned home. "I know how it brought my soul to rest when they brought my husband back," said Jacob.

    The Navy has not commented on why all the remains weren't recovered in 1966. "Maybe another storm came and they had to leave the site early," Jacob speculated, and added, "You'll never get anything out of them about that." But Cmdr. Kozak's family is only concerned with getting the crewmembers home. "We just want the rest of the men brought back," said daughter Patricia Masciantoni. "It's just the right thing to do."

    The Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii, which is responsible for military recovery, is reportedly willing to schedule the recovery of these remains, but funding is, as always, an issue. A POW/MIA Casualty Conference will take place from Nov. 14-16, 2001, and the LA-9 crash is on the agenda. The Kozak family encourages citizens who wish to see LA-9's remaining crewmembers brought home to write to their elected officials. More information about this issue is available on the VP-5 Web site, http://www.vpnavy.org/vp5.html.

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    Killed In Action
    Family Steps In To Return Crew's Remains
    New Discoveries Trigger Quest
    The Florida Times-Union
    http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/100101/met_7427450.html
    October 1, 2001




    Waiting for permission to post entire article.

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    Killed In Action
    The Story of One
    By Patricia Masciantoni
    Newsweek
    January 12, 2000
    [Family Heroes]
    Contributed via Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [17JAN2003]


    If you linger here quietly, you'll eventually hear "Taps" signaling the burial of someone's father, husband, brother or son. Arlington National Cemetery is home to heroes who are known to the world or just to their families. Each hero has a history; this is the story of one.

    The youngest of eight children, Norbert John Kozak was born in 1921 in New York Mills, New York, to a Polish-immigrant father and American mother. A few cherished photographs document his childhood. One shows a boy with his beloved dog; another, a serious child in dark suit ready to receive his first holy communion. There is a group picture of his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers at Syracuse University; and pictures of Bert as a handsome young man in the early 1940's wearing stylish suits and, later, his Navy uniform. He was the fifth member of his family to serve his country.

    As a U.S. Navy pilot, he flew the P2-V, an anti-submarine warfare aircraft. An avid amateur photographer, he left slides and photographs that document some of his trips and experiences: an aerial view of Mount McKinley, a visit to an orphanage in Spain, children in Japan, the terrain of Italy. From the continental United States, there are photos of the California coast accompanied by a $2 silver certificate signed by crewmates on a flight from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor. On the East Coast, there are scenes from Brunswick, Maine, Washington, D.C., Chincoteague, Va., and Pensacola and Jacksonville. Fla. Military ribbons in a gold frame chronicle time in WWII, the Korean conflict, and the Berlin airlift.

    Most of what I know of Bert Kozak is from a handful of cherished memories and family stories. He died at the age 0f 40. He love to fish, had an infectious sense of humor, and was highly respected by the men who knew him as their executive officer. New stories of him have just begun to surface, the result of one of my brothers finding a former crewmate of Bert's via the Internet.

    Now that I'm over 40,1 can view his accomplishments with a somewhat detached perspective, and I am in awe. This man — my father — literally touched people around the world. From his untimely death, I have come to learn that every day is a gift, and that life is full of wonder and possibilities.

    Along with 11 other men, his world stopped in January 1962, while on a routine observation flight that originated in Iceland. Although the flight began without incident, contact eventually was lost with the aircraft. An extensive search was conducted, but it wasn't until five years later in Greenland that a geological expedition found them - one group of explorers bringing an end to the mystery of what happened to the first.

    As I stand by his grave in Arlington and take in the sea of marble headstones spaced with uniformity and precision, I'm humbled and inspired by the altruism that lays before me.

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    Killed In Action
    Find Body Of Missing C. R. Airman Wells
    Cedar Rapids Gazette
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    September 18, 1966
    Contributed via Bob Pettway rpettway@epbfi.com [17JAN2003]


    GROVER WELLS

    The body of a Cedar Rapids man, Grover E. Wells, has been discovered on Kronborg Glacier in Greenland, where he died nearly five years ago in a plane crash.

    Wells, 24, an aviation ordnanceman, was one of 12 men aboard a U. S. Navy Neptune plane which disappeared over the Greenland icecap Jan. 12, 1962, on a flight out of Keflavik, Iceland.

    A British research expedition reported Friday that it had discovered the bodies of 12 airmen. The defense department Saturday listed them as those of the missing Neptune crew.

    Wells, 24, attended McKinley school and enlisted in the navy in 1955.

    His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. wells, have since moved to Portland, Ore.

    The airman's two daughters, Wanda Lee and Marjorie, were 3 and 2 at the time of the crash and his wife, Nancy, was preparing to enter a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital for the birth of their third child.

    He was also survived by four brothers and sisters, Bob, Donna, Carol, and Roger.

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    Return
    "January 12th, 1962 Memorial Summary Page"