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Burial set for Arnett

By Staff | May 12, 2010

The ashes of a U.S. Army Air Corps officer shot down in the Pacific in World War II will be laid to rest during a memorial service 2 p.m. May 15 at the Friendly Cemetery.

The remains of 2nd Lt. Jack S. Arnett were recovered in 2005 by the Bent Prop Project, an organization that finds American planes shot down in World War II. Arnett’s remains were cremated in Florida last fall and his ashes will be buried at the cemetery along side his mother, Dessie Ash Arnett, said Frances Weekley, chapter regent of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which is organizing the ceremony.

“We are fullfilling her wishes,” Weekley said.

Arnett was the pilot of a B-24 Liberator No. 42-73453 that left Wake Island on Sept. 1, 1944, on a bombing mission over Koror, 750 miles away from Wake, where the plane was downed by anti-aircraft fire off the coast of Palau. His remains were identified by the Joint POW/MIA Account Command using the DNA of his brother, H.M. Arnett of Florida.

Arnett’s parents, B.B. and Dessie Ash Arnett, are buried at the Friendly Cemetery along side a memorial marker for Arnett. His mother lived to be 100.

Members of Arnett’s family from Charleston and Florida will attend, she said. Arnett graduated in 1936 from Charleston High School.

The service will include representatives from the military and will include full military rites organized by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Sistersville, Weekley said.

Several members of the Bent Prop Project who participated in the search and discovery of Arnett’s plane also will attend, she said.

“We are expecting American Legions and VFWs from all the surrounding towns,” Weekley said.

A motorcade with a 1951 hearse from the Myers Funeral Home from Sistersville will bring the ashes to the cemetery, said Weekley, who has been working with Arnett’s family. Arnett will be buried at the memorial where his mother and father, B.B. Arnett, are buried. The Patriot Guard Riders will stand in silent honor and respect for Arnett as he is given his final rest.

A POW/MIA service is to follow at the Friendly Community Center.

The Bent Prop team found the remains of eight crewmen in the plane. Arnett, 2nd Lt. Frank Arhar, Staff Sgt. Jimmie Doyle, Tech. Sgt. Charles Goulding, Staff Sgt. Leland Price, Flight Officer William Simpson, Tech. Sgt. Robert Stinson and Staff Sgt. Earl Yoh.

A ceremony was held Thursday for the crew in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., with military rites conducted by the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment known as “The Old Guard.” Although the remains of five crewmen Arnett, Doyle, Simpson, Stinson and Yoh had already been identified, the burial was in honor of all eight because the remains of all may have intermingled.

Flags were presented to surviving members of the families. The firing party fired three rifle volleys and an F-15 did a flyover while the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” performed.

A funeral with military rites also was held Dec. 12 at Orlando, Fla., for Arnett. Part of his ashes were buried there and the remainder will be buried in Friendly.