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171st Air Refueling Wing Honored Local World War II Veteran

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing

The 171st Air Refueling Wing hosted WQED, a local television station, to honor a World War II veteran by showing a video documentary titled “Homecoming: Sgt. Hamilton’s Long Journey” June 24, 2022.

Airmen gathered in the installation’s dining facility to listen to David Soloman, vice-president of production and programming for WQED, discuss the return of the remains of Sgt. Vernon Hamilton, a Monongahela, Pennsylvania resident, to his family. The Airmen also watched the full documentary.  

“It’s not very often you get to hear stories like Sgt. Hamilton’s,” said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Wiley, the 171st ARW command chief. “We need to continue educating our current, and specifically, younger Airmen about the ultimate sacrifices made by those men and women before us. Their stories should never be lost to history.”

One of the major takeaways from the documentary was learning how much effort the U.S. Government goes through to bring home and identify the remains of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“I’m actually shocked by what I saw in that video,” said Tech. Sgt. Jacob Linsenbigler, a public health technician assigned to the 171st. “To see that there are entire departments at Dover (Air Force Base) and Offutt (AFB) that work tirelessly to identify human remains from wars past is really impressive.”

During the visit, Soloman emphasized how it was an honor to tell this nearly forgotten story.

“It’s really a story for American history,” said Soloman. “I didn’t know him but his name was sort of lost in history. So it is important for us to tell his story.”

Hamilton lost his life along with two other aircrew members when their A-26 bomber was shot down over German airspace March 21,1945.

“We are dedicated to supporting our military families and remembering those who have fallen,” said Wiley.   

For more information and to watch the documentary Homecoming, please visit WQED’s webpage.