Air Force Pilot's remains return home 58-years after death - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Air Force Pilot's remains return home 58-years after death

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The remains of a Moultrie War hero have finally been identified 58-years after his death during the Korean War.

Lt. Robert Franklin Dees was a pilot in the Air force when his F-84-E thunderjet was shot down in North Korea.

Robert Franklin Dees was born in Moultrie in joined the Air Force shortly after his time at Georgia Military Academy.  This eternal flame burns in memory of Colquitt county men and women who lost their lives in the military."It certainly was a sad day when we lost Robert," said his cousin, John Dees.

For 58-years a mystery has surrounded the whereabouts of the remains of First Lieutenant Robert Dees. "We assumed he might have burned up," said Dees.

On October 9th, 1952, Lt. Dees, was in North Korea on a combat mission when his aircraft was shot down. "When one of the other pilots got in touch with my uncle he said last he saw of his plane was it was going down in flames, so you assume his body will never be discovered," said Dees.

At first he was listed as missing in action but that status changed a year later to presumed dead and for all these years his remains were never discovered."We all still wondered why they couldn't find some remains somewhere," he said.

Something difficult for Dees to live with growing up very close to his cousin. "We were all in the military, because of the Korean War," he said.

But recently Dees, along with other surviving family members got some shocking information. The military matched DNA to remains they discovered during Operation Glory. "This is a real shock but a pleasant shock to find closure," he said.

Something Thomas Wagner understands, he lost his brother in the Vietnam war but his family never got back his remains. "There was nothing to bury so there never was a funeral, just a memorial service," he said.

His funeral will be held Saturday January 22, 2011 in Ozark Alabama, with full military honors.

To find out more about Lt. Dees and funeral arrangements click here@

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