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Classmates, Relatives of WWII Soldier Whose Remains Returned to US This Summer Will Gather Sunday

John Hogan was a gunner on a B-17 when his plane was shot down over Germany in World War II. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Ed Hogan)
John Hogan was a gunner on a B-17 when his plane was shot down over Germany in World War II. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Ed Hogan)

In July, we brought you a story on the remains of a missing WWII soldier from the Ozarks finally being found in Germany and brought home for burial.  On Sunday, Veteran’s Day, many of that soldier’s relatives and classmates from the West Plains High School class of 1942 will gather one final time to honor their friend and loved one, John Hogan.  KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has this interview.

The memorial service for John Hogan, the 20-year-old gunner whose B-17 Bomber fell out of formation on a bombing mission over Germany, will take place at West Plains Bank on the town square where Hogan grew up.  I spoke with the bank’s chairman and CEO, David Gohn, about the event.

“West Plains Bank and Trust Company was founded in 1883. And in 1890, R.S. Hogan was the president of the bank, and the grandfather of John Hogan,” said Gohn.

In 1938, John Hogan’s father, R.E. Hogan, became chairman of the board of the bank.

“So, for many years, this bank has been known as the ‘Hogan Bank.’  And therefore, the interest in John Hogan was planted in my mind many years ago,” Gohn said. 

Gohn said after the KSMU and NPR story on Hogan aired this summer, he contacted Dr. Ed Hogan—John Hogan’s nephew—to see if there was something Gohn could do to honor the fallen soldier further.

He learned that several of John Hogan’s classmates from 1941, ’42, and ’43 were still living in West Plains, and decided to host a memorial service at the bank on Veteran’s Day.

“For them, I think it will be a closure.  But it will also be a time to reinforce a sense that they need to remember—all of us need to remember—what happens to this country when men and women go and do what they do to protect the freedoms that we enjoy,” Gohn said.

To see the original KSMU story on John Hogan's remains being identified and returned stateside, you can click here.  NPR also covered this story; you can see that version of the story by clicking here.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Davidson.