It's a journey over six decades in the making. But 66 years after his death, a World War II army staff sergeant is finally returning home.
Credit: Perinchief Chapels
SSGT Zoltan Dobovich, an Allentown native, was one of eight men who were killed while on board a B-17G Flying Fortress back on November 1, 1946. The heavy bomber aircraft was flying from Naples, Italy to Bovingdon, England when it crashed into the French Alps. He was 21-years-old.
After the fatal accident, several attempts were made to locate the men. While some initial remains were recovered in 1947, none of the soldiers were individually identified. The recovered remains were buried in a single grave at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Between 1972 and 1975 as well as 1979, more remains were recovered at the crash site, primarily by Italian military authorities, but were still unidentified.
Finally, in 1983, Italian military personnel recovered more remains from the site and were able to identify Dobovich through DNA testing.
Dobovich’s remains will be flown in, with an honor escort, from an Air Force base in Hawaii to Philadelphia International Airport on Christmas Eve, according to the Burlington County Times. The remains will then be taken to Perinchief Chapels, on 838 High Street in Mount Holly, NJ. A funeral service for Dobovich will be held Thursday, at 11 a.m., at Perinchief Chapels. Interment and military honors will then take place at the Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in North Hanover Township, NJ.
Dobovich is survived by a niece and two nephews. The Burlington County Times reports Dobovich was a radio operator who enlisted in the Army two years after the attack on Pearl Harbor.