Remains of WWII veteran to be laid to rest in Michigan
St. Joseph, Mich. – The remains of a Michigan veteran killed during World War II have been recovered and will be returned home.
Navy Airman Albert Rybarczyk of St. Joseph was reported missing in action in 1944. He was 22 when his plane went down in the South Pacific during a bombing mission.
Rybarczyk was a radio man because, at 6-feet-2-inches tall, he was two inches too tall to be a pilot. He was part of Air Group 18 and stationed on the USS Intrepid.
Rybarczyk’s plane released a bomb but was too low. The explosion tore off the plane’s tail and caused it to spin into the water.
Project Recover and the BentProp Project have been trying to reach the wreckage for more than a decade. The volunteer organization aims to find the remains of World War II veterans who went missing in action.
The BentProp Project, the Scripps Oceanographic Institute and University of Delaware found the crash site in 2014 by using autonomous robotic vehicles and an underwater sonar system.
The Navy later contacted Rybarczyk’s family to get DNA samples to confirm the veteran’s remains. A positive identification was confirmed in August.
The Navy will pay for Rybarczyk to have a full military funeral. Rybarczyk will be buried next to his parents at St. Joseph’s Resurrection Cemetery in December.
Jim Gray, Rybarczyk’s great-nephew, said he hopes having the remains returned will bring peace to Rybarczyk’s sister, Mary Ann Rybarczyk.
“For Mary Ann, I hope Bud’s return home will be like locating that missing puzzle piece to complete a picture that’s been incomplete for over 70 years — a picture that will bring her the solace she has quietly sought for so long,” Gray said. “And for my great uncle, Radioman Second Class Albert P. ‘Bud’ Rybarczyk, may he finally rest in peace.”