Remains of Air Force Veteran Returning Home after 64 Years

This Thursday, July 12, 2012, file photograph shows the Joint Task Force-Alaska Team from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright recovering debris on Colony Glacier near Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo)

BELOIT -- Colony Glacier looks stunning in the photos.

Sapphire blue lakes, random juts of glacial snow sparkling in the sunshine and vivid green pines stand out in front of snowy peaks.

It's beautiful, but it's not home.

On Wednesday, the remains of US Air Force Airman First Class George Ingram will return from the base of a snowy mountainside to his home in Beloit.

Local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts want to honor Ingram's trip with gatherings at every overpass from Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee to Beloit.

"Every death in the military is important, regardless of time or place or rank," said Bob Webster of Delavan American Legion Post 95.

Webster is organizing the gathering on the Borg Road overpass of Interstate 43 in Delavan. He's encouraging people to arrive on the bridge at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Hansen-Gravitt Funeral Home will be leaving the Milwaukee airport between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. The funeral home will be traveling on Interstate 43 to Beloit.

Webster said the Walworth County Sheriff's Office would be providing an escort for the hearse when it enters Walworth County.

"We're not sure when it will get here, but anybody who has been in the service is used to 'hurry up and wait,'" Webster said.

Ingram, who would be 87, died in 1952 when his Douglas C-124 Globemaster crashed into Mount Gannett on its way to the Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. The wreck of the plane was spotted several days later, but it was quickly covered with snow, sank deeper into the glacier and disappeared.

Ingram's remains and those of this crewmates were not seen again until 2012, when they were discovered at the base of Colony Glacier, about 12 miles away.

For the last several years, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory has been working to confirm the identities of the crew.

Ingram was born March 10, 1929, in Pontotoc, Mississippi. His family moved to Beloit when he was in his teens. He enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to the 34th Air Transport Squadron at McChord Air Force Base in Washington.

He and his crew mates left McChord in the Globemaster on Nov. 22, 1952. During the flight, the plane ran into severe weather. The flight was last heard from at about 4 p.m. by a Northwest Orient Airlines pilot who heard, "As long as we have to land, we might as well land here."

Air Force officials think the Globemaster crashed directly into the side of the mountain, and no one survived.

At the time of his death, Ingram was survived by his parents, Frank C. and Viola H. (Howard) Ingram, and seven brothers, Frank, Richard, Halbert, Eleas, William, Walter, and Roy. They have since died.

However, Ingram is survived by family members from Beloit and Mississippi including, nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives.

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