Allentown solider who served in World War II finally laid to rest

Author: , Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published: Dec 28 2012 05:57:37 AM EST

An Allentown soldier who fought in World War II and died six decades ago finally has been given his full military due.

It was an official military goodbye 66 years in the making.

"I think it's a good celebration. Even though he has remains in Arlington this is like we really have a piece of him now," said Carlton Zoltan Dobovich.

Him is Allentown native Army Staff Sergeant Zoltan Dobovich.

On Nov. 1, 1946, Dobovich was flying from Italy to England but his B-17 Flying Fortress plane crashed near Mont Blanc in the French-Italian Alps.

All eight crew members died, including Dobovich, who was just 21 years old.

"We have no idea what that mission was or why they were doing it," Carlton says.

66 years later in Mount Holly, New Jersey, Zoltan, who served as a radio operator during world war II, was finally given a full military funeral and laid to rest near his family, who had since left Allentown.

"It's just amazing. All those times we heard about Zoltan, now to bring him home and we know he's home," great niece Victoria Simmons stated.

For the family, Zoltan's death has been clouded in a painful mystery.

Some remains of the crew of eight were found in 1947; a mass grave was then made in Arlington, National Cemetery. But decades passed without knowing much else.

Recent advances in DNA testing finally linked more remains found in the 1980s to those of Zoltan, allowing him to come back home.

"We are still finding men and women who passed away in previous wars and bringing them home and that's important to the families to get closure," New Jersey Patriot Guard Eric Sithens said.

For nephew Carlton, it's a chance to do something he never got to do as a child, connect with his hero uncle.

"I guess it's more again never knowing we got to call him Uncle, to me uncle is important," he said.

So too is the chance to say goodbye.