This 1943 photograph released by the U. S. Army Air Forces, the predecessor to today's Air Force, shows Second Lt. Robert Keown in the cockpit of a training aircraft in California. Keown, a Georgia native and Alabama resident who was killed in a crash in Papua New Guinea in 1944 during World War II, is buried Friday, June 15, 2018, in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. (U. S. Army Air Forces via via AP)

Funeral set for WWII pilot missing since 1944 crash

June 15, 2018 - 12:05 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An American pilot is being buried at Arlington National Cemetery more than 70 years after he crashed on a Pacific island during World War II.

Second Lt. Robert Keown (pronounced Cow-uhn) was flying a P-38 aircraft that went down in Papua New Guinea in 1944.

Relatives never knew what happened to him until November. That's when genetic testing confirmed that remains found years ago on the island were his.

Keown will be buried Friday with full honors.

Nieces and nephews are the closest remaining relatives to attend the funeral of Keown, who grew up near Atlanta in Lawrenceville, Georgia, before moving to Scottsboro, Alabama.

His father died in 1937 and his mother in 1979. Keown's two brothers also died while he was missing, the most recent in 2015.

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