World War II Californian veteran's remains return home

Thanks to huge advances in technology and the military creed of "leave no one behind," another California warrior, long missing in action, is missing no more. 

During Thursday's noon hour, a plane arrived at San Jose Mineta International Airport carrying the remains of U.S. Navy Petty Officer Wilbur Archie Mitts.

Petty Officer Mitts, an aviation radioman who was shot down, was killed 79 years ago, in September 1944, during World War II's Operation Stalemate-- the shelling of enemy targets in Micronesia's Palau Islands. 

He was met by family and his remains were handled with full military honors before being transported 70 miles south to Seaside, his final resting place near Monterey


Vietnam War pilot's return to home after 54 years

A missing Vietnam veteran was interred in his final resting place, having been missing for more than a half-century. His 90-year-old wife and their adult children welcomed him home at SFO Thursday and bid farewell Friday in a place of honor.

"Seeing them finally receive him home and after all these years and just to know they finally have the closure," said Laura Herzog of Honoring Our Fallen, a non-profit that assists in getting the remains of the fallen back to their families.

Mitts was one of 420,000 service members who served either voluntarily or by the draft, and who did not return as much as they would have wanted to.

Mitts' niece says his last letter home, which arrived after his death, said in part: "I'm gonna make it home mm, someway, somehow."

"Well it wasn't the way we wanted it, but it finally happened," said Herzog.

Forever young, but still alive in the hearts of his family and those who honor the fallen, thank you for your gallant service and sacrifice, Naval Petty Officer Wilbur Archie Mitts.