Remains of Stamford airman killed in WWII returned to CT

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Byrnes' niece Anmarie Byrnes Galgano recently discovered a stash of memorabilia that her aunt kept, she says, including letters he wrote home, his diary during the war and other paperwork from the Army. Byrnes' niece Anmarie Byrnes Galgano recently discovered a stash of memorabilia that her aunt kept, she says, including letters he wrote home, his diary during the war and other paperwork from the Army.
STAMFORD -

The body of a Stamford airman who died in World War II finally returned home last week -- 74 years after his death.

Second Lt. Patrick Byrnes Jr., also known as "Bud," died in 1943 when his B-2 bomber hit a mountain in Papua New Guinea, killing all 12 airmen aboard. But it took decades before DNA technology led to the positive identification of his remains.

Once his body returned home, he was buried with full military honors.

Byrnes' niece Anmarie Byrnes Galgano says that while she was growing up, her family didn't talk about Bud much because it was too painful, and because so many Stamford families lost sons in World War II. But she recently discovered a stash of memorabilia that her aunt kept, she says, including letters he wrote home, his diary during the war and other paperwork from the Army.

"I can't describe what it means to get to know this person I never knew, so that's such a gift," Galgano says.

She says her aunt Anna Byrnes was the only family member still alive who Lt. Byrnes had written to during the war when the Army identified his remains in June. Shortly after learning his remains would be returned, she died too.

"I think knowing that he was taken care of and safe, I think that meant everything to her," Galgano says.

The Army also found Byrnes' high school ring in the jungle and returned it to his family.

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