William Gray; Pilot stuck in tree for 70 years

| July 16, 2017

1st Lieutenant William Gray was 21-years-old when his single-seat P-47D aircraft went down near Lindau, Germany on April 16, 1945 and his earthly remains went undiscovered until last year when they were found embedded in a tree that had grown around him, according to Fox News.

The Defense POW/MIA said investigators recovered Gray’s remains last year. Two people who saw Gray’s plane go down told the investigators where to look, Q13 Fox reported Friday. The investigators were in Lindau on another recovery mission.

“The bones they found were embedded in the tree,” Gray’s niece Jan Bradshaw told the station.

Her brother Doug Louvier added, “It grew over his remains and really protected and marked the spot.”

His remains were brought home to his family, and to his best friend, Jim Louvier, who had joined the service with Gray, but Louvier came home from the war while Gray didn’t. Louvier kept the promise to his friend o take care of hi family if he didn’t make it home by marrying Gray’s sister until he finally passed in 2010. Now the best friends, Louvier and Gray rest side-by-side according to Q13 FOX;

The two men were given a military burial with honors.

“I think they are having a cold drink up there smacking their glass together and saying we are finally back together,” Louvier said.

Category: Politics

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  1. Tom Huxton says:

    Lt. Gray; longest drop on record, door to floor.

    that one will be hard to beat

  2. IDC SARC says:

    Talk about cover and concealment.

    Welcome home and RIP

  3. AW1Ed says:

    Great story.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    “was on a dive-bombing mission on April 16, 1945, when his single-seat P-47D aircraft clipped a tree and crashed”

    Seems there oughta be some wreckage involved.
    Great story though and welcome home Bill.

  5. Sparks says:

    Glad he was found and is home now. Louvier was a true friend indeed and altered his life to keep his promise.

  6. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    He really blended in with the vegetation! Welcome Home Fallen Warrior, R.I.P.

  7. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace Sir.

  8. STSC(SW/SS) says:

    You’re home now sir. RIP.

  9. Green Thumb says:

    Rest Well, Sir.

  10. Skippy says:

    Rest Well Sir

  11. Mark Lauer says:

    I got to the part where they said his remains had been found in a tree that had grown around him…..
    And I had to stop reading for a little while.
    My mind had to wrap itself around that. He crashed into that tree at the end of the war. He and his plane remained there, undisturbed. His body decayed while still in command of his aircraft. He stayed in that tree long enough for that tree to wrap it’s protective embrace around him.
    He may have stayed there forever had someone not been alive who remembered his crash.
    I am awed by this. Simply awed.
    God rest 1stLT William Gray, USAA

  12. Just An Old Dog says:

    21 year old combat pilot. I know it wasn’t that uncommon then, but now most of our pilots have to have a college degree, go through OCS and have about 2 years in the Military with flight training before they are sent in harm’s way.
    Id say the Youngest we would see a pilot in action would be 24.

  13. UpNorth says:

    Rest in peace, LT.

  14. Eden says:

    The part that amazes me the most is that they were able to somehow find someone (TWO someones) still alive who were witnesses to the crash and could help them find the remains.

    Rest in peace, 1LT Gray.

  15. Li Righ says:

    This is a very touching story.

    A lot of very good people involved here.

    Great post, Jonn.

  16. Messkit says:

    Further…God Bless his friend, for promises kept forever.

    Patton says it right; “..thank God that such men lived”.

  17. jonp says:

    Our country will not rest until all come home no matter how long it takes.


  18. Thunderstixx says:

    God and Mother Nature caring for his Earthly Remains through the years…
    The tree is a living memorial to this man and I hope they didn’t have to cut it down to retrieve his remains.
    Either way, Welcome home Sir.
    (Slow hand salute.)

  19. 19D2OR4 - Smitty says:

    SERE level 1000

  20. Ex-PH2 says:

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Gray. And welcome home, at long last.

  21. Graybeard says:

    We should all wish to have a friend like Doug Louvier.
    Lt. Gray was very fortunate. RIP, sir.