Remains could be that of Mount Carmel airman
KULPMONT - Bob Nolan is sad that no family members have been to his second cousin's grave in the Long Island National Cemetery for about two decades.
Once a military forensic lab confirms whether the remains of Sgt. John M. Nolan, of Mount Carmel, were actually buried in the New York cemetery (see separate story on Page A7), a final resting place will be established for the World War II casualty,
"To realize that one of my cousins gave his life in the greatest war ever fought, and that over a period of 20 years maybe, a Nolan hasn't been to the that gravesite is difficult," said Bob Nolan, 65, co-owner of Nolan Lumber in Kulpmont with his brother, Jim Nolan, 59.
Bob Nolan and his wife have made a promise to themselves: "We're going when he comes back," he said.
The family, which consists of no immediate relatives for John Nolan, would prefer to have the remains buried in Beaverdale where the graves of John's parents are located.
When Sgt. Nolan was killed in action, the Department of Defense was unable to separately identify his remains and those of his fellow brother-in-arms, Staff Sgt. Meceslaus Miaskiewicz, 27, of Salem, Mass.
Therefore, they were both buried in the same grave under a headstone with both their names. However, in 2011, Army researchers explored the grave of an unknown American soldier in Stubica, in what is now Bosnia, and identified the body as Miaskiewicz's.
Request for DNA
Bob Nolan received the death report of John Nolan and a request for a DNA sample in 2012.
Using the DNA kit the Department of Defense sent him, Nolan used a cotton swab to scoop out saliva from his mouth. He placed it in a protective container and shipped it back to the Army.
In a June 7, 2012, letter, the DOD confirmed it received the sample and it would be added to the family reference database.
"The request for your DNA does not imply there are recovered remains associated with your loved one. Should there be remains believed to be associated with your loved one, your service casualty officer will so advise you," the letter reads.
The new effort to positively identify Sgt. Nolan comes as Thomas Lucid, of Elysburg RD, and other members of his family work to find the remains of his uncle, Pfc. Edward Lucid, who was killed in action in Korea in 1950 and was reportedly buried by the Army in South Korea, but whose remains have never been brought home and can't be located. The Lucid story was published in the Jan. 19 edition of The News-Item.
Died in 1944
Sgt. Nolan, born Nov. 13, 1921, in Mount Carmel, to Martin and Kathryn Nolan, was a 22-year-old Army Air Forces photographer when he died aboard the "Daisy Mae" of the 367th Bomb Group on a mission to bomb the oil fields of Ploesti, Romania.
He enlisted in the United States Air Corps in Philadelphia on May 10, 1941.
He served with the 347th Bomber Squadron, 99th Bomb Group, part of the 15th Air Force, flying a B-17-G-35-DL, based in Italy. They were known as the "Mammy Yokum Squadron," as the planes all had nose art derived from the Little Abner newspaper comic strip.
The squadron first went to Italy in March 1944. On his 24th mission on May 18, 1944, Nolan was killed in action during a raid on Ploesti, Romania, when his plane, under the command of Second Lt. Herschel McClain, was brought down by anti-aircraft fire over Mostar, Yugoslavia.
Nolan, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, was originally believed to have been brought home in 1949 and buried in the cemetery in Farmingdale.
In a July 8, 1949, letter to John Nolan's mother, Kathryn, who was living in Mount Carmel at the time, the DOD informed her that individual identification of any of the remains was unsuccessful and "only a group identification of the remains is possible."
In a second letter dated July 25, 1950, the DOD said, "It is regretted that because of the fact it was impossible individually to identify the remains of your son you were deprived of the small comfort and consolation which you might have been afforded by interring his remains at home."
Nolan's parents are no longer living, and Nolan did not have any brothers, a wife or children. Nolan died in combat before Bob or Jim Nolan were born.