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Family buries pilot missing for 57 years



Published: Sun, November 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Family buries pilotmissing for 57 years

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- By the time the downed World War II airman's remains were finally found, most of his family had died without knowing his fate.

They believed Lt. William Patton Jr. went down in the English Channel while returning from a mission Jan. 15, 1945, at age 27.

But Patton's body, still in uniform and at the controls of his P-51 Mustang, was discovered in February after a French farmer unearthed the aircraft's machine gun while draining the bog where the plane crashed nearly 57 years ago.

On Friday, Patton was laid to rest at a service attended by about 200 people, including surviving relatives.

"Welcome home, Lt. William Wyatt Patton Jr.," said the Rev. Norman Taylor, a Patton brother-in-law, his voice cracking. "It's been ... it's been a long time."

Patton's flag-draped coffin was surrounded by old snapshots, his Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Western Union telegram announcing his disappearance.

Patton, a native of rural Stark City in southwest Missouri, was later buried beneath a leafless oak tree in Springfield National Cemetery.

Space shuttle fliers joinAstronaut Hall of Fame

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame accepted its first class of space shuttle fliers Saturday in a patriotic ceremony just a few miles from where they rocketed into orbit.

Former space shuttle commanders Robert Crippen, Joe Engle, Richard Truly and Frederick Hauck were honored by their fellow astronauts and space program workers as well as hundreds of others who gathered at the Kennedy Space Center.

The four inductees shared the outdoor stage with 14 veterans of Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz missions who already are members of the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

"I think it is marvelous, with this nation at war, that we take the time to recognize things that are so important to our country, and the space program has to be at or very close to the top of the list," said Truly, the pilot of the second space shuttle flight and a former NASA administrator.

Saturday's ceremony brought the number of those honored by the Astronaut Hall of Fame to 48. The newest members were selected by a committee of retired NASA officials, journalists and a historian, and were among 21 astronauts considered from the first three years of shuttle flight.

Serbian police protestwar crimes arrests

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- In a challenge to the government, elite Serbian police officers blocked a highway Saturday to protest the arrests of suspects wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal, and said they were duped into detaining two of them.

About 30 members of the Special Operations Unit, which once fought in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo under former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, used eight armored vehicles to block Serbia's northern highway 70 miles northwest of capital, Belgrade.

Armed with rifles and wearing flak vests, the men ended the blockade peacefully after an hour, and a government delegation was sent to talk to organizers.

But the wider political dispute continued, with the unit demanding a halt to the arrests and the resignation of the interior minister of Serbia, the main remaining Yugoslav republic.

The officers are angry about the arrest Thursday of two Bosnian Serbs indicted by the U.N. court for atrocities reportedly committed during the Bosnian war. The men, who were hiding in Serbia, were extradited to the Netherlands for trial.

Flooding kills 235

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Violent winds and heavy rain lashed northern Algeria, collapsing buildings, flooding roads and killing 235 people, authorities said Saturday.

Torrential rains began drenching Algiers on Friday, causing muddy waters to rush through city streets and several buildings in one of the city's poorer sections to crumble to the ground. Authorities said at least 224 people died in the capital.

Throughout Algiers, residents waded in waist-deep water trying to reach safety, and traffic came to a standstill as roads became impassable because of high waters, felled trees and debris.

Muddy brown water raced down the grand staircases that dot the hilly city on the Mediterranean. Many ground-floor apartments were inundated, and telephone lines were cut.

Many old buildings were so badly damaged that there were fears some would collapse. With power lines exposed or felled, utility provider Sonelgaz cut power to several areas to lower the risk of electrocution.

Associated Press




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