WWII veteran’s remains finally returned home to Leavenworth, given proper burial

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Dozens of people lined the streets of Fort Leavenworth Monday to pay tribute to a World War II veteran whose remains recently were identified and returned home.

Many at the fort say it's important to remember the sacrifices of our veterans.

Staff Sergeant Vincent Politte was only 19 years old when he served as a gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber in Europe.

Staff Sergeant Vincent Politte

Politte graduated high school in Leavenworth. He was shot down and killed in the skies over Romania, as part of Operation Tidal Wave, a daring allied raid on oil refineries used by Nazi Germany.

Politte's remains could not be identified until 2010, when the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency started digitizing records and analyzing files of more than 8,000 unknown soldiers from World War II.

In April 2016 Politte's DNA was extracted from his remains and armed forces medical examiners were able to positively identify him.

"There’s closure," said Leo Politte, the soldier's youngest brother. "There’s a sense of what he did for us. We should be more aware of that. Last night I talked about the centurion soldier. The faithful soldier. That’s what Vince was. A faithful, trusting, protective soldier."

Vince Politte was one of six siblings, and his oldest sister says at a visitation gathering Sunday, only two people out of dozens who attended, actually knew her brother personally. The family says it's been touched by the support of so many who are honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by a member of America's Greatest Generation.

Within the family, Vincent Politte also has been remembered with a nephew and great nephew named in his honor. His brothers and other relatives also have followed in the family's footsteps of serving our country in the military.

Dozens of people lined the streets of Fort Leavenworth Monday to pay tribute to a World War II veteran whose remains recently were identified and returned home.