Current Weather
The Spy FM

Honor Delayed: WWII Vet Layed To Rest Decades Late

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
July 14, 2012

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. John Hogan was killed in action. But not recently, and not in Afghanistan. He died almost 70 years ago, a young gunner in a B-17 flying over Germany on a bombing mission.

The small, tight-knit town of West Plains, Mo., was knocked to its knees when one of its brightest and promising young men went missing overseas in 1944.

Finally, Hogan is scheduled to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in August with full military honors.

Hogan was a dashing 20-year-old, gifted and popular, the ambitious son of one of the doctors in West Plains. Jack McNevin worked with Hogan’s mother in the local post office.

“She never did really recover … completely from not knowing where [her] boy [was],” he says.

McNevin also went to high school with Hogan. Their senior year, McNevin was a halfback on the football team, Hogan a left guard.

“I’m not even sure that we ever scored a touchdown — I don’t even remember. But we were bad. We were really bad,” he says.

Hogan and McNevin graduated five months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hogan dreamed of becoming a field biologist. Instead, he found himself fighting off frostbite with his hands on a machine gun, flying nearly 27,000 feet above Europe.

Hogan’s B-17 fell out of formation after coming under anti-aircraft fire over Germany.

“I assumed all these years that his plane just crashed into the mountains, or somewhere, and they couldn’t even find it,” McNevin says.

After the war, the Army wrote Hogan’s parents.

“It is regretted that there is no grave at which to pay homage,” the note said. “May the knowledge of your son’s honorable service to his country be a source of sustaining comfort to you.”

Hogan’s parents and two brothers passed away without ever knowing what happened to his body.

“In 1991, a German citizen was digging a grave in a cemetery for one of his own family members,” says Jessica Pierno, spokeswoman for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office. “And as he was doing his work, he discovered a metal identification tag that was from a U.S. soldier.”

It took 17 years for the U.S. government to get permission from Germany to excavate that site. Investigators turned up the remains of the B-17′s crewmembers.

Ed Hogan, a neurologist in St. Louis, never got to meet his uncle, John.

“I’m very appreciative that things have come up, and that we know, and that they’ve brought his remains back. I just really wish it would have happened when my dad was still alive,” Ed Hogan says. [Copyright 2012 KSMU-FM]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center