ZEELAND, Mich. — The remains of a local soldier who died in World War II is scheduled to be buried in Zeeland next month.
The U.S. Army Human Resources Command says Army Air Forces Cpl. LaVerne D. Van Dyke will be interred May 12 at Zeeland Cemetery.
We’re told Van Dyke served in the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, 5th Air Force as a flight engineer on Jan. 18, 1943 when he and six crewmates left Jackson Drove to perform reconnaissance along New Guinea’s coastline. They were never heard from again. All men were presumed to have died on Dec. 20, 1945 following an exhaustive search.
Van Dyke was 38 years old at the time.
Australian military members found a wreckage in 1957 of a similar plane model Van Dyke was on in a mountainous area of Papua New Guinea, according to the U.S. Army. The remains found inside were buried together that same year in Louisville, Kentucky.
Officials say more wreckage and remains were discovered later in 1998, which were later deemed likely to be associated with Van Dyke. His remains were later identified in 2018 after lab analysis.
Visit the Department of Defense’s Facebook page to learn more of their efforts to recover and identify missing soldiers.