A World War II pilot from Maine killed in action in 1944 was returned to his hometown in Millinocket on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

Second Lieutenant Ernest Vienneau was given the honorable transfer from Massachusetts with a Maine State police Honor Guard at the request of the United States Army.

His remains were identified and recovered in the fall of 2020 in Croatia.

Maine State Police
Maine State Police

Vienneau was killed flying in a B-17 bomber as a co-pilot over Maribor, Yugoslavia in late 1944. (Yugoslavia is now present-day Slovenia).

Second Lieutenant Ernest Vienneau was based in Amendola, Italy as a pilot for the 340th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force. he flew the B-17 Flying Fortress. On November 6, 1944, Vienneau was serving as a co-pilot when the mission came under heavy anti-aircraft fire.

Vienneau was struck in the head and suffered a mortal wound from flak entering the cockpit during the barrage. He was treated by the crew as the pilot tried to get the B-17 bomber back to their base. The plane could not make the return trip and they had to ditch it near an island called Vis Island in Croatia.

The plane sank rapidly and the 10 surviving crew members could not get his body out before it sank.

Over the past several decades, his body was not found. Efforts and attempts to recover Vienneau were not successful until the fall of 2020 when a team reached his remains.

Second Lieutenant Ernest Vienneau will be buried in Millinocket, Maine on October 9, 2021.

You can read more about this story at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Get our free mobile app

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

More From