A WWII hero was laid to rest in his hometown of Dublin, Texas, on Monday.
September 11 would have been Noel Shoup’s 105th birthday, but he was killed in action at the age of 25.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, Shoup put his college pursuits on hold and enlisted with the U.S. Army Air Force shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
While in service as a first lieutenant with the 359th Bombardment Squadron and 303rd Bombardment Group, he took off from Molesworth, England, in a B-17 Flying Fortress named “Miss Marooki” on February 28, 1944. He was part of a bombing raid targeting Nazi-occupied sites in France.
But Miss Marooki was hit by anti-aircraft fire and violently crashed. Three crewmembers survived, while seven others, including Shoup, were killed.
Yet the remains of only five of those killed were able to be retrieved from the wreckage.
Shoup’s family was only recently given the long-awaited news that his remains had been excavated and identified using DNA technology by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
When an American Airlines flight from Omaha touched down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Monday, Shoup’s nieces Sandra Hammons and Brenda Baumert were driven onto the tarmac.
“Grandma would be saying, ‘thank you Jesus,’ she would,” Baumert remarked, according to WFAA.
Shoup’s mother Lela died not knowing what happened to her son but had remained hopeful that he would be brought back to her one day.
“Welcome home, uncle,” Baumert said. “He’s finally home, grandma.”
Joining the sisters in their excitement were pallbearers from Fort Cavazo and members of the Patriot Guard Riders.
They escorted the hearse as it brought Shoup’s remains in the flag-draped coffin to Dublin, roughly two hours from the airport.
A ceremony was held at Greens Creek Baptist Church, with an Army Air Corps uniform displayed beside Shoup’s coffin.
The family was touched by those who came to pay respects to Shoup.
“It’s a really refreshing thing to see that there are this many people that care this much,” Hammons told WFAA.
Shoup was buried next to his mother and near other family members at Upper Greens Creek Cemetery.
Thousands of families are still left without closure, as an estimated 72,196 soldiers from World War II are still unaccounted for.