LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The body of a World War II Air Force bomber pilot is being brought back to Los Angeles Wednesday, 77 years after he was killed in action. A procession will take him to his final resting place in Westwood.
Twenty-year-old Lt. Ernest Roth went missing on May 19, 1944, when his bomber, the B-17G, was struck by antiaircraft fire while flying over Berlin, Germany.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the aircraft crashed and six of the 10 crewmembers aboard were killed. They were allegedly buried by the Germans in the Döberitz cemetery. When the war ended, however, U.S. forces were unable to locate Roth’s remains in the grave in which he had purportedly been buried.
They found a set of unknown remains in another grave nearby that they believed either belonged to Roth or another American soldier, the DPAA reports.
In 2018, the unknown remains were exhumed and transferred to a DPAA laboratory in Nebraska. Based on anthropological analysis, mitochondrial DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence, the DPAA announced in March of 2020 that the remains were determined to belong to Roth.
Roth, an L.A. native, was serving in the 359th Bombardment Squadron at the time of his death. His nickname was the Sky Duster, according to the nonprofit group Honoring Our Fallen.
A procession will be held from Los Angeles International Airport beginning at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.
The procession will make its way on the eastbound 105 Freeway and the northbound 405 Freeway before coming to an end at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary in Westwood.