CLEARWATER, Florida (KCRG-TV9) -- A group of Iowa students paid tribute to a fallen World War II soldier with a spontaneous song in July 2016.
On October 14, 2017, the fallen soldier will be put to rest.
The Iowa Ambassadors of Music, made up of students from all over the state (aged 15 or older), traveled to perform music in seven European countries as a choir and band in 2016. While on a flight, they chose to sing to a fallen soldier.
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. George W. Betchley, 20, of Yonkers, New York, will be buried in Clearwater, Florida.
On March 22, 1945, Betchley was a member of the 429th Bombardment Squadron, 2nd Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, serving as a navigator on a B-17G Flying Fortress, carrying a crew of ten on a bombing mission targeting the Ruhland oil refinery near Schwarzheide, Germany.
The aircraft crashed in Poland after it was damaged by German anti-aircraft fire and German fighters.
The pilot and several crewmembers parachuted out, but only the pilot and co-pilot survived.
Betchley was declared missing in action on March 22, 1945, but his status was later amended to killed in action.
In April 1948, an AGRC team investigated a crash site associated with Betchley’s aircraft. The team found wreckage with serial numbers correlating with weapons used on the B-17G Flying Fortress.
After a historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that the equipment and remains could likely be identified.
On July 7, 2016, Unknown X-7547 was taken from Neuville and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
Scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System were able to identify Bechtley's remains by using mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA analysis, as well as dental and anthropological analysis and historical evidence.
Betchley’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 72,990 service members unaccounted for.
View our original story from 2016 HERE.