Close Friends and Co-Pilots Buried Together After Four Decades | NBC4 Washington

Close Friends and Co-Pilots Buried Together After Four Decades



    (Published Friday, Sept. 20, 2013)

    Two Air Force pilots who died during the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago are finally getting a proper burial, side by side, at Arlington National Cemetery.

    James Sizemore and Howard Andre were friends at Georgia Tech University and later reunited as the crew of a Douglas A-26 invader. The two passed away when their bomber crashed in July 1969 over Laos. 

    Last year, the Air Force was finally able to reach the crash site and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command task force retrieved Sizemore and Andre's remains. Their families made the decision to bury the two men next to each other at Arlington National Cemetery.

    "It's very meaningful. They flew together, they died together and they ought to be buried together," James Sizemore's brother Gene Sizemore said. 

    Sizemore's nephew says the burial will be the end of an ordeal his family has had to suffer for decades.

    "This is something they don't go a day thinking about and finally [he] is coming home, so it will being closure to our family," James' Sizemore's nephew Bill Sizemore told News4. 

    Sequestration forced the men's families to pay for the traditional flyover -- a final tribune to the fallen airmen.

    "In our economy, I think there needs to be a fund for funerals just like this," James Sizemore's son told News4. "I think that whatever the government is going to do to balance the budget, they should make it a necessary requirement to honor those families."

    The families utilized the help of Warrier Aviation to help the flyover become a reality.