ANC Website Top BANNER 2
United States Army Aircrew
12 December 1944
WWII crewmates' burial closes chapter for families
 20 April 2008

Three World War II servicemen who died together on a mission and lay together as unknown American soldiers in foreign graves were buried together Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Paul Lubben and Margaret Hafermann, both of Wisconsin Rapids, attended the ceremony for their brother, Second Lieutenant John Lubben, and his crewmates Sergeants Albert Forgue of Rhode Island and Charles Spiegel of Illinois.

The three were buried with full honors caskets draped with flags were carried by a horse-drawn caisson. A bugler sounded taps and seven riflemen fired three volleys at the gravesite.

John Lubben and Forgue will have separate headstones and all three will share a headstone for a casket that bears their intermingled remains. Spiegel's family didn't request a separate headstone in Arlington.

Paul Lubben, who was 14 when his big brother died, received the folded flag from the casket.

"The caisson, the military band and the Old Guard," Lubben, 77, said of the burial. "I didn't expect anything like that."

For Paul Lubben and his sister, it was the final goodbye to their brother who died at age 28 when the A-20J Havoc plane he was piloting went down December 12, 1944, near Wollseifen, Germany.

Last year, the family had a funeral in Wisconsin after DNA was used to identify John's remains.

For 31 years, John Lubben, Forgue and Spiegel lay in a grave near the crash site. Someone carved in a tree that three American soldiers were buried there.

In 1975, a German company clearing landmines in the area found the grave.

Manfred Klein, a German Army Reserve officer, became interested and spent years tracking down information. In 2001, he contacted the Lubben family via an Ohio family he knew.



John F. Lubben
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-737168
644th Bomber Squadron, 410th Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Wisconsin
Died: 13-Dec-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Luxembourg American Cemetery
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Remains identified and buried at Forrest Hill Cemeery, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin and in a group burial with Charles L. Spiegel and Albert A. Forgue at Arlington Cemetery August 2005

Air Medal               Purple Heart Medal          Wisconsin State Flag



Charles L. Spiegel
Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 36740132
644th Bomber Squadron, 410th Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Illinois
Died: 13-Dec-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Lorraine American Cemetery
St. Avold, France 
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

Remains identified and buried in a separate grave at Arlington Cemetery (April 8, 2008) as well as buried along side in a group grave with John F. Lubben and Albert A. Forgue in Arlington Cemetery - August 2005

Air Medal               Purple Heart Medal              Illinois State Flag



Albert A. Forgue
Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 31290794
644th Bomber Squadron, 410th Bomber Group, Light
Entered the Service from: Rhode Island
Died: 13-Dec-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Lorraine American Cemetery
St. Avold, France
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Remains identified and buried in a separate grave at Arlington Cemetery as well as buried along side in a group grave with John F. Lubben and Chatles L Spiegel in Arlington Cemetery along side - August 2005

Air Medal               Purple Heart Medal               Rhode Island State Flag

  Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 20 April 2008
Purple Heart Medal