John McCaslin

The congressman recalls that while servicemembers killed overseas at that time were usually buried abroad, in the 61 years that have passed, Defense Department policy has changed "and technology now makes a recovery operation likely to succeed at lower risk."

It was the USGS that determined the location of the "George One," estimating the wreckage has sunk to an icy depth of 165 feet. The other victims in the frozen grave are Fred Williams and Maxwell Lopez.

Writing last summer in the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, Carl Hoffman mentioned that Hendersin's mother had requested a grave for her son at Arlington National Cemetery, but she was turned down by the Navy. So the family instead held a memorial service in Wisconsin, "but with no body to bury, they placed no headstone to mark a grave."

Meanwhile, Williams' family in Clarksburg, Tenn., decided against holding a service. "It was just too painful. Nobody talked about it," Williams' 70-year-old niece, Kate Williams Beebe, was quoted as saying. "It was like a closed door. Grandma and Granddaddy wanted his body back, but they knew he wouldn't be returning."

Lopez's family did hold a memorial service in Rhode Island in 1947, according to the aviator's 42-year-old nephew, Ted Lopez, who keeps his uncle's scrapbook that contains the Western Union telegram informing the family of his death. Mr. Lopez, interestingly enough, is the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine graphic designer.

Out of Africa

We had to laugh at yesterday's official White House pool report surrounding President Bush's travels in the African country of Ghana, which stated "the screeching you may have heard from the press conference apparently came from peacocks."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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