Together Forever

Lt. Col. Earle J. Aber Jr. and 2nd Lt. Maurice J. Harper fought together, were shot down together and are now buried together. Most of the wreckage of their plane, shot down nearly 60 years ago, was found in late 1999.

The two were mistaken for a German plane flying a B-17 over England. They maintained control long enough for the crew to parachute to safety, but crashed into a river estuary, and only Aber’s arm was located. Now that their remains are found, Harper’s identifiable remains are buried in Alabama and Aber’s in England. The unidentifiable portions are buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. “They’ve been together so long, it was appropriate,” said Harper’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Lamberth. Aber’s nephew, Earle Williams, said this was an opening rather than closure. “We’ve gotten to know lots of people who knew my uncle,” he commented.

Science has made much of this possible because it’s now easier than ever to identify remains. It is sometimes impossible to separate remains, group burials have become more popular.

From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel