BUFFALO, N.Y. — The remains of a Western New York hero who died almost 80 years ago have finally returned home.
There was a ceremony Friday at the Niagara Falls Airbase for the return of Coast Guard Lieutenant Thomas Crotty's remains.
His remains were identified by DNA testing from a mass grave in the Philippines where he was taken prisoner during the Japanese invasion in 1942.
It was a momentous occasion for the Coast Guard in particular.
"This is the last one. All the other people that were lost in the line of duty in World War II, or were Missing In Action were lost at sea. Their remains can obviously never be returned. So in a way, this represents the hundreds of Coast Guard people that served in World War II that were lost at sea and will never come back," said William Thiesen, Coast Guard Historian.
Grand Island firefighters honored Crotty as his motorcade passed through Grand Island on to his final resting place.
Crotty's remains will be buried here in his hometown of Buffalo Saturday.