After 72 Years—Dewey Gossett Home at Last


Dewey L. Gossett, a World War II soldier whose A-36A Apache fighter/bomber crashed in Italy 72 years ago, was laid to rest with full military honors six days ago at Fort Prince Memorial Gardens in Wellford, South Carolina.


A fighter jet flyover shook the ground before Dewey Gossett’s burial service.

Photos courtesy of TIM KIMZEY, photographer/Spartanburg Herald-Journal/

Read the Spartanburg Herald-Journal coverage of Dewey Gossett’s service at

On September 27, 1943, Dewey Gossett, a member of the 86th Fighter Group, U.S. Army Air Force, was the pilot of a single-seat A-36A Apache aircraft accompanied by three other pilots on a strafing mission in Italy. The planes encountered bad weather and poor visibility after take-off, and Dewey’s plane crashed into Mount Accellica, near the village of Acerno in southern Italy.

Human remains were discovered by avian archaeologists of the Italian Salerno 1943 organization (the “Salerno Air Finders”) in 2014 during their excavation at the crash site. Through extensive DNA testing by members of the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and other organizations, the remains were identified as belonging to Dewey.

Dewey was laid to rest with full military honors in his home state of South Carolina this past Monday, April 11, 2016.

Dewey’s great niece Nora Messick wrote to me this evening that—in addition to the newspaper coverage—CBS affiliate WSPA Channel 7 did a news story on Dewey’s return. You can watch a video of their coverage, “Remains of WWII pilot returned to Upstate after 72 years,” at

Nora asked me to share this comment:

“On behalf of the family, we are truly grateful to everyone involved in bringing Dewey home. We especially would like to thank DPAA and the Association Salerno Air Finders for their work in finding Dewey. He’s finally back home and the memorial service was a beautiful, fitting tribute to our hero.”

For further details on the crash and the effort to identify the pilot’s remains, read “Lost Airman Dewey Gossett.”

A full account of the case, from the plane’s discovery by the Salerno 1943 team to the return and burial of Dewey’s remains is posted—partly in Italian and partly in English—on the Salerno 1943 website, “IL CACCIABOMBARDIERE NORTH AMERICAN A-36A APACHE 42-83976.”

You can also read the entire page in English by means of Google Translate.


Dewey L. Gossett

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