Clinton Soldier Returns Home After 70 Years - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Clinton Soldier Returns Home After 70 Years

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ROCK ISLAND, IL – Family members from across the United States came to celebrate First Lieutenant Louis L. Longman's life on Saturday.

Generations of the Longman's have all heard the story of their Uncle Louis.

Sheryl Longman, his niece from California, says "Louis was the favorite of [the siblings]. He was the youngest and a little sprite."

Richard Longman Jr., who flew in from Chicago, adds "Dad always talked about Louis. They were close, they really were."

A little brother, an all-state athlete, a fighter pilot – only a few ways to describe this Clinton, Iowa hometown hero.

Sheryl says, "It's a joyous occasion. It's a joyous funeral to be at because we have him home after being missing for 70 years."

In 1944, Louis Longman along with 52 Air Force pilots were lost in a devastating storm. For decades, they thought First Lieutenant Longman would never be found.

Sheryl says, "They thought his plane had crashed in the ocean along with the rest of his squadron. We were amazed to find out that instead, they crashed in a violent storm into the mountain tops of New Guinea in the jungles there."

70 years later, Longman's legacy is remembered by the stories passed on. Sheryl Longman says her father, Louis' brother, would have been proud. "If you could stop him from crying, he would say ‘Thank you, God. Thank you God.' I'm sure."

The family is thankful that First Lieutenant Louis Longman has returned home from his final mission.

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