The families of dozens of American soldiers met with the Deputy Secretary of Defense today to get an update on their loved ones.
A total of 200 families who have not forgotten about service men and women who died or are missing from World War ll, Korea and Vietnam were in attendance. Family members like Paul Julian who came to the meeting at the O’Hare Sheridan, “I heard this story about my uncle being lost in the war – first from my grandfather and then my father. I became fascinated with it and fascinated with him and as a young boy I sort of collected everything I could find out about him – his medals, his personal effects, so forth.”
It was a childhood fascination about an uncle who had disappeared in the war 2-years before he was born. Attorney Paul Julian developed that keen interest which evolved into a passion to discover what happened over the Pacific in 1944, when his uncle’s B-24 Bomber, caught in bad weather – with low fuel, never returned to base; ”The determination was made that the plane had probably run out of fuel over the Pacific Ocean, in that area. They put up a search – a couple of search aircraft, found nothing, saw nothing and that’s where the matter rested.”
That was September of 1944. Five years later in 1949, Sgt. Herbert Julian and the rest of the 11-man crew were officially declared dead. For Paul and thousands of other families the story ended there. And that’s the way it remained until 3-years ago when nephew, Paul continued to search the internet for information and discovered that the plane actually made it to New Guinea before running out of gas over the dense jungle.
”The crew was ordered to bail out by the pilot and they did so, all of them apparently successfully. They survived the bailout, but as it turns out, not the Japanese,” said Julian.
Herbert and the co-pilot were captured, the other crew members whereabouts not known. The two were put in an infirmary but overnight they got away. Somehow they remained alive, in the thick jungle for 2-weeks before they were again caught by Japanese soldiers, “This time they were turned over to a fanatical, anti-American Captain, Satoro One, who ordered the men executed. And they were bayoneted and beheaded and buried in a grave near the Japanese camp,” said Julian.
So for 60-years Julian, like thousands of other MIA families from WWll, Korea and Vietnam, continued to abide by wrong or no information. And that’s what the government is trying to correct.
“There are family members from all over the United States who are still waiting for answers on their missing loved ones,” said Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, with the military’s public affairs office.