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Services for a hero: Texas World War II airman laid to rest Monday, 77 years after his combat death

San Patricio County native Sgt. Herald R. Boyd, 25, was killed in 1945 during World War II. His remains were finally identified this summer.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Services for Herald Boyd, a World War II hero from San Patricio County, will be held today in Sinton and Corpus Christi, 77 years after his death.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) said remains of Army Air Forces Sgt. Herald R. Boyd were positively identified on July 8, 2022, through "anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence."

Boyd's remains arrived at Corpus Christi International Airport on a Southwest flight Friday around 5 p.m. He was honored at CCIA with a water salute.  

Funeral services were held Monday, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. at Resthaven Funeral Home Chapel in Sinton. Boyd was then buried at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery at 1 p.m.

77 years after his death during World War II, Sgt. Herald Boyd has been laid to rest at the Coastal Bend State Veterans...

Posted by KIII 3 News on Monday, September 12, 2022

RELATED: South Texas World War II hero's remains identified after 77 years

Boyd was serving as a gunner on a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber on Feb. 3, 1945, when his aircraft was hit by a ground rocket immediately after dropping bombs on the Tempelhof marshalling yard in Berlin, according to witnesses from other aircrafts.  

"The pilot tried to save the plane, but he was unsuccessful, and it crashed in a residential area of Berlin," a release from the DPAA said. "Seven of the nine crew members were killed. The other two were captured and became prisoners of war."

German records did not list Boyd among the bodies recovered from the crash site, though a surviving crew member confirmed Boyd died in the crash. The War Department issued a report of death on Jan. 12, 1946, and memorial services were held shortly after in Sinton.

After the war ended, the the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) began to investigate and recover missing American personnel in Europe. 115 sets of remains were recovered from Döberitz cemetery in Berlin near the end of 1946. 

By 1956, six of the seven missing crew members were positively identified, but not Boyd's. Investigators believed Boyd was associated with a set of remains designated Unknown X-4804 Neuville, but this could not be proven, and X-4804 was buried at Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery in Belgium, in 1957.

DPAA historians then began to conduct comprehensive research on the remains. The remains were disinterred in June 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification. 

Boyd's remains were finally positively identified through DNA testing on July 8, 2022.

RELATED: Veterans on Padre Island work to create an American Legion Post

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