World War II airman's remains finally home in New York - New York News

World War II airman's remains finally home in New York

Posted: Updated:
World War II airman Sgt. Dominick Licari in an undated photo. (Family photo via AP) World War II airman Sgt. Dominick Licari in an undated photo. (Family photo via AP)

By CHRIS CAROLA | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- At Melrose Market, the windows facing the street were decorated with American flags and a sign that read: "Thank you and Welcome Home Sgt. Dominick Licari." Organizations and business owners along Route 5 posted signs in Licari's honor Friday.

The World War II airman died in combat almost 70 years ago in the South Pacific, but his remains were only recently identified. Finally, at just after 9 p.m., he returned home to Frankfort, 70 miles west of Albany.

"We just thought it would be a nice tribute for him for giving his life for our country," said grocery store owner Linda LaValla. "It's good to know that they take the time years later to find our servicemen and bring them home. It's closure for everybody."

Veterans' groups, businesses and residents along a 10-mile stretch of New York's Mohawk Valley paid tribute to Licari. Honor guards from Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion chapters were posted along Route 5 as the vehicle procession carrying his casket left the New York State Thruway at Little Falls and traveled to Frankfort, funeral director Vincent Iocovozzi told The Associated Press.

A commercial flight carrying his casket arrived at the Albany airport and military pall bearers carried the casket from the plane to the hearse Friday evening, Iocovozzi said. Licari's brother, sister and several nieces and nephews were at the airport to accompany his casket back home, with the Patriot Guard motorcycle riders providing an escort, the funeral director said.

"There's only one word that describes this: unbelievable," said Iocovozzi as he arrived in Frankfort with Licari's remains. He said hundreds of people lined the streets waving flags, crying and holding signs as they made the journey to the funeral home.

"He's a man who has been dead longer than most people have been alive, but he's a hero coming home," he said.

Licari was a 31-year-old gunner aboard a two-man Army Air Force A-20 Havoc bomber that crashed into a mountain in Papua New Guinea on March 13, 1944, while returning from a bombing raid on a Japanese airfield. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Valorie Pollard of Monterey, Calif., also was killed, along with four airmen in two of the mission's other A-20s that slammed into the same jungle-covered mountain in bad weather.

Licari, one of nine children in his family, was officially declared dead in 1946. Last month, U.S. military officials notified his two surviving siblings that his remains and those of Pollard were found and identified. Licari's funeral and burial with full military honors are set for Tuesday in Frankfort.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed lowering flags on state government buildings to half-staff on Tuesday to honor Licari.

Pollard's burial arrangements are still pending, Pentagon official said.

News of Licari's remains and their impending return to Frankfort has stirred emotions in his hometown and other nearby mill towns lining the western end of the Mohawk River. Veterans, firefighters, law enforcement officers and local residents planned to line Route 5 and salute his procession, said Iocovozzi, a distant relative of the Licari family.

"It just brings tears to your eyes," Iocovozzi said after arriving in Frankfort.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:07:25 GMT
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
  • 'Mortified': stage performers over share

    'Mortified': stage performers over share

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:56:08 GMT
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
  • FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:39 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:39:02 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices