Roemer Shares Story of Gainesville’s Lost WWII Fighter Pilot at Riverside, Dec. 7

Paul Roemer
Junior JPAC participant Paul Roemer examines parts of the airplane wreckage.

In April 1945, just days before the end of World War II in Germany, a U.S. fighter pilot met his fate near the tiny village of Rosien when his plane “Mary Lou” crashed. Immediately after the crash, 2nd Lt. John William Herb was shot by an unknown gunman and his body buried hastily. A young boy was among the many villagers who witnessed the crash. Pieces of the airplane were scattered widely, but the pilot couldn’t be found.

Seventy years later, a group organized by Joint POW Accounting Command (JPAC) of the U.S. military set out to find and retrieve the body. Not only were they successful, they also found a class ring along with the human remains. It identified John W. Herb as a graduate of Riverside Academy in Gainesville, Georgia. He was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in 2015.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, Mr. Manfred Roemer from Germany will be presenting a slide talk about the crash that he witnessed as a boy and his subsequent participation in the JPAC recovery project. Roemer traveled from Lower Saxony to Gainesville for several days’ visit at Riverside Academy. The presentation is scheduled for 10:40-11:20 a.m. in the Carlos and Sandra Cervantes Theatre for the Arts, Riverside Military Academy, 2001 Riverside Drive in Gainesville. It includes pictures and information not previously published.

Translation will be provided by Brenau Professor Dr. Rudi Kiefer. The event is free and open to the public.

Leave a Comment: