Updated: Friday, 11 Feb 2011, 8:37 AM CST
Published : Thursday, 10 Feb 2011, 1:08 PM CST
GREEN BAY - A fallen World War II airman from Green Bay is getting a major honor from the military.
“I think about the fact that my mother never knew that he had been found,” said Joyce Clark.
Joyce Clark still fights back tears when she talks about her late brother. She was only 15 when Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Robert Streckenbach Jr.'s plane went missing. But it wasn't until 2009, when she was 81, that she finally laid him to rest.
“It was just a little bone, like that, but it was something,” said Clark.
Streckenbach and 10 other airmen went missing in 1943 after taking off from an airfield in New Guinea. Streckenbach was declared dead in 1944. Their plane was discovered 41 years later. The little bone was the only remains of Streckenbach proven through DNA testing in 2009. He was buried at Fort Howard Cemetery in Green Bay next to his parents. But the military says there are more remains of Streckenbach, and told Clark it will bury those in Arlington National Cemetery.
“The fact that he's in Arlington is a major honor,” said Clark.
An honor others who didn't even know Streckenbach are happy to hear about.
“Everybody knows that was here at the time, know about Robert Streckenbach,” said Dean Jacquet, cemetery grounds superintendent.
If you ask the cemetery workers about Streckenbach, they know exactly who you're talking about. They say his name is the most recognized name in the entire cemetery, and his burial in 2009 is one they say they'll never forget.
“They had humvees parked in the back part of the cemetery, quite a large crowd. The chopper flyover, it was pretty neat,” said Jacquet.
And it was emotional for Clark. Knowing she has to do it all over again has her a bit on edge.
“I thought after last year, I could put it to rest,” said Clark.
But she says a burial in Arlington Cemetery is just what her brother would have wanted.
“I think Bobby would like it. I think he's probably happy with being with my mother and dad and that, but it's an honor for a soldier to be buried there,” said Clark.
One resting place at home, another soon to be among war heroes for one local man who won't soon be forgotten.
The 11 airmen will share a headstone since not all the remains could be identified. The burial will be March 24.