Sergeant, United States Army Air Force
Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
68th Airways and Communications Service Group
Entered the Service from: New York
Died: September 8, 1945
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
21 June 2003:
The war in the Pacific had just ended, when First Lieutenant Philip Miller set out from Australia on September 8, 1945 in his Army Airways Communications System B-25 en route to what is now Biak, Indonesia.
Staff Sergeant Finn Buer , a passenger on the plane, had written to his family only two days before. He told his folks to get ready to have a big party when he returned. Finn would never make it home.
A helicopter pilot working for the Freeport Mining Corp. noticed aircraft wreckage on a mountaintop in Indonesia on February 5, 1996. The company notified the military attache at the American Embassy in the Indonesian capitol of Jakarta.
A CILHI team recovered remains in 1999 from the site and the soldiers were identified in 2002 as crewmembers Sergeant Mathew Neary and Staff Sergeant Troy Hewett, Jr. and passengers; First Lieutenant Fred Smith, Staff Sergeants Veachel Straney, Charles Boslers and Earl Spredemann.
There were two caskets for the World War II men. Buer was buried in a separate casket next to his comrades.
The attendees for the second funeral were a mix of older siblings and widow, mixed with younger descendants two or three generations removed from the Pacific Theater of World War II.
Posted: 17 April 2004 Updated: 31 December 2005
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 22 April 2004