STATUS OF CREW REMAINS!
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Forwarded by Bob Pettway
Patty (Kozak) Masciantoni granted permission to post the following mail...
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 8:17 AM
Subject: It's time for us to band together for the LA-9 cause!
To the LA-9 family members:
All of us have been bound together for 46 years...twice the lifetime of some of the crewmembers of LA-9. We have spent our lives thinking about those we lost -- fathers, brothers, uncles and shipmates. My father, CDR Norbert John Kozak, was the pilot. Each of us has our own memories of the five-year period from the time the aircraft was lost until it was located by such an unusual chain of events. We thought we had closure at that time, and then we found out that in 2001, more remains lay on the glacier in Greenland. For me, and I suspect for all of you, that brought back so many painful memories.
We journeyed together to bring them home, and it was a long, hard fight. It took years to convince the Navy to bring back those we honor, and I felt such gratitude towards the leader of that expedition and those who went with him. They did their jobs and completed their task.
I am grateful beyond words to Bob Pettway. It was due to him that we have all remains back in the United States. Bob's leadership is the reason that all of you were found and that I'm asking you for help.
We need to come together again in force so that the remains in Hawaii can be joined with those in the common grave in Arlington National Cemetery (section 46, plot #754). Otherwise, this will languish for years to come. This is unacceptable for our loved ones and for you.
For some reason which is incomprehensible, the division of the Army that is responsible for Arlington is not going to allow the disinterrment of the remains in the common grave. They include Anthony Caswick, Joseph Reeneberg, John Brown, Alan Millette and Grover Wells.
How much longer will this go on?
At the bottom of this email, I am sharing with you the letter I sent to Mr. Metzler, the superintendent of Arlington, and his response to me. Look at the dates on the letters. The remains in Greenland were recovered in August 2004, and we're almost in 2008!
We must band together to get this done, and it's essential that we do this as a group.
Will you please take an hour or less and write to Mr. Metzler. Identify yourselves as a family member of LA-9 and insist that the Army allow the laboratory in Hawaii to complete their task. Be specific about your relationship to the crew. He must know that we will not give up until those five families have the option of burying all remains of their family members. Please take the time in the next couple of days to do this.
If we do not see results by the first of the year, the next step will be to write to your senators and congressional representatives.
It is only if we show resolve that this will happen. We need Mr. Metzler to understand that we will NOT go away. The difficult part has already happened. This is the final piece.
I plan to contact Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) in the next few days to ask for his help as well.
Here is the latest information from Ken Terry in an email to Bob Pettway, but understand that this should have been resolved in 2004:
My boss is attending a Mortuary Conference this week and will bring this issue up to specifically address Navy's concerns, as well as, to address some of Army's reluctance to authorize the disinterment. We are trying to stay out of the legal arena, if at all possible, and will offer a propose 'Memorandum of Agreement' for Army's consideration. Basically, the proposal outlines very stringent criteria which must be met in order for disinterment of Navy Group Remains, which we can fulfill for the propose LA-9 Group Disinterment. If Army bulks on this offer, then we will forward the issue to SECNAV via N-1, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) (ASN(M&RA)) and the Office of the Judge Advocate of the Navy (OJAG) for action/resolution. We are prepared to forward the package to SECNAV next week, if Mr. Wardlaw's efforts are not successful at the conference.
Please, let's don't wait any longer. I pray that we will all come together for this. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you with your letter.
LETTER TO SUPERINTENDENT METZLER:
Mr. John C. Metzler, Jr.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia 22211
Dear Mr. Metzler:
My father, CDR Norbert John Kozak, is buried in Arlington. At least, I believe that most of his remains are there. The rest of his remains may be in the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii, awaiting final burial along with other members of his crew that died on January 12, 1962 in Greenland, as they were patrolling the Denmark Strait for Russian submarines during the Cold War.
My dad had a long and distinguished career in the Navy, flying in WW2, the Berlin Airlift, and working in a NASA facility prior to the launch of the first manned spaceflight. I have photos that he took from all over the world during the nearly 20 years that he served.
Eleven other families are waiting for closure about their loved ones as well.
Although the aircraft crashed in 1962, the P2-V in which they were flying wasn't discovered until August 1966, and my dad's funeral was held in October of that year in Arlington. I remember it like it was yesterday. A final recovery took place in August 2004. It's a long involved story.
Right now, however, the issue is that there is a common grave in Arlington - one which I have visited often - that holds the remains of five of the crew members. I understand that the laboratory is waiting for this grave to be exhumed so that final identification can take place.
Mr. Metzler, please let me know if there is anything I can do to expedite this process. How can I help?
I was six years old in 1962, and am 52 years old now. Even if the remains are exhumed immediately, it will take another several months before we can finally close this case.
Can you please help us? Please let me know if I can provide any additional details. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, at work at 407.317.3463, or at home at 407.889.0075. The families have been working through the Navy Casualty Office, and I can tell you that we all would like to see our loved ones rest in peace.
MR. METZLER'S RESPONSE TO ME:
October 11, 2007
Dear Ms. Masciantoni:
Thanks you for your letter of October 2, 2007 regarding the remains of your father, CDR Norbert John Kozak, and the members of his crew that died on January 12, 1962 in Greenland as they were patroling the Denmark Strait for Russian submarines during the Cold War.
We are currently working with the Army and Navy Casualty Assistant Office on the above issues. Once Arlington National Cemetary confirms that all of the requirements are met, we will be reviewing all the request and taking the appropriate actions.
Thank you for offering your assistance in expediting this process.
John C. Metzler, Jr.