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Old 01-03-2004, 12:49 PM
Otis Willie

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Default B-52 officer's remains identified after decades

B-52 officer's remains identified after decades

(EXCERPT) January 3, 2004, 8:53 AM EST

STRATFORD, Conn. -- The remains of an officer who died in Vietnam in
1972 have been identified after a three-decade wait.

Maj. Irwin Stuart Lerner died in Hanoi on Dec. 20, 1972 when his B-52
was shot down with a surface-to-air missile, Air Force officials said.

Military officials believed they had his remains in 1985. But it took
two decades to confirm them through DNA testing, said Kathy Shemeley,
president of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action CT Forget-Me-Nots

"It's important for a family to have closure. A family always wonders
what happened to a loved one," Shemeley said.

Lerner will be buried this month at Arlington National Cemetery. He
was 31 when he died, leaving behind a wife and three children.

His wife, Roberta Reilly Lerner, died in 1995. His three children,
Mark, 38, David, 36 and Jennifer, 33, live in Georgia, where they
moved with their mother once she found out Lerner was missing.

"I don't know what it's going to do for me," said Jim Simon, a
childhood friend who pushed a plan for a Stratford monument built in
Lerner's honor. "When I went to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington and
saw his name among the missing, I cried."

Simon, 63, said Lerner's father, Eli Lerner, kept him informed

U.S. and friendly nation laws prohibit fully reproducing
copyrighted material. In abidance with our laws this report
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viewpoint of the distributing Library. This report is provided
for your information and discussion.

Otis Willie
Associate Librarian
The American War Library
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