A fallen Nutley resident who was a U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman and whose remains took decades to identify will be honored here next week, Commissioner John Kelly says.
First Class Anthony Di Petta’s remains will return home to Nutley on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.
Di Petta’s was killed on a World War II air strike.
A private service is scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, 2023. At approximately 11:45 a.m., immediately following the service, a funeral procession will make a brief stop at the Nutley World War II Monument on Vincent Place. Members of the community are encouraged to assemble at the memorial to pay respects and show their support for the family and friends of Di Petta.
On Sept. 10, 1944, 24-year-old Di Petta, along with two other crew members, boarded their Avenger bomber jet, taking off from the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier to conduct air strikes against enemy targets.
Their aircraft was struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the waters near Malakal Island, located in the Pacific Ocean about 800 miles southwest of Guam. Recovery efforts were halted in the summer of 1947, and on July 16, 1949, Di Petta and crew were declared non-recoverable.
But not all hope was lost thanks to the marvels of modern-day science.
The crash site was located in 2015 after several years of Project Recover search missions. In partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Project Recover found MIAs from the Avenger during their first MIA Recovery Mission in 2021.
Scientists from DPAA used dental analysis to identify Di Petta’s remains.
Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Di Petta’s personnel profile may be viewed at www.dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000001nzYvcEAE.
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