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Governor Directs Flags To Half-Staff For July 10 To Honor WWII Airman From Winsted

Published: July 09, 2018 at 12:00 am

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HARTFORD - Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Monday announced he is directing US and state flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in honor of US Army Air Forces Staff Sgt John H. Canty, a World War II airman from Winsted who was killed in action in 1944 at the age of 22 and whose remains were recently discovered and returned to his family. A funeral service and burial with full military honors will be held Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the UA flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time.

For putting his life on the line and making the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States, Connecticut will be "forever grateful" to Staff Sgt Canty, the governor said.

"These many decades later, he has rightfully returned home and will receive a proper burial at one of our nation's most sacred grounds alongside other heroes who fought on behalf of our country," Gov Malloy added. "We are forever grateful for his service, and I ask all Connecticut residents to join me in honoring Staff Sgt Canty's memory and sacrifice."

Lt Governor Nancy Wyman also commended Staff Sgt Canty for his service.

"He and his squadron were integral to the allied war effort and bringing a halt to the terrible destruction caused by the Third Reich," Ms Wyman said. "Time gives us tremendous perspective - we are able to understand just how important the service and sacrifices made by the men and women who served in WWII were to the freedoms we have today, and how meaningful their actions were then and are now. I join many others in welcoming him home."

On June 22, 1944, Staff Sgt Canty was a member of the 555th Bombardment Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group, IX Bomber Command, aboard a B-26 Maurader on a nighttime bombing mission from Easton Lodge-Essex, England, against targets near Caen, France. His B-26 was shot down between the villages of Baron-sur-Odon and Gavrus, France. All eight crew members were killed in the incident. Because the location of the crash was in German-held territory, US forces were unable to make a detailed search for the crew at the time of their loss.

Following the liberation of France, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), US Army Quartermaster Corps, searched for and disinterred the remains of US service members who were killed in battle.

Residents of Gavrus recalled that a two-engine airplane crashed just outside the village on June 22, 1944. An American was recovered and buried in a nearby British cemetery. In 1945, the remains were exhumed and he was identified as an airman aboard the same aircraft as Staff Sgt Canty. No other remains were identified, however, and Staff Sgt Canty was declared non-recoverable.

In October 2014, British researcher Michael Jurd notified US authorities that he found remains, as well as personal effects that corresponded to Staff Sgt Canty, near Gavrus. In 2016, a US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) investigation team surveyed the reported crash site and recommended it for excavation.

Between April and May 2017, a DPAA recovery team excavated the crash site between Baron-sur-Odon and Gavrus, locating possible remains and personal effects.

Staff Sgt Canty's remains were identified on December 12, 2017, by scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System using mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and material evidence.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 72,906 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Staff Sgt Canty's name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Normandy American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

flags to be lowered for WWII soldier John H Canty

Flags in Connecticut are to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in honor of US Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John H. Canty, a World War II airman from Winsted who was killed in action in 1944 at the age of 22 and whose remains were recently discovered and returned to his family.

-photo courtesy Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy

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Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

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