Harold T. Kamps
Airman Second Class, United States Air Force
a press report: September 2, 1998
About 2,000 bone fragments, including the remains of a Wisconsin man, recovered from a crash site of a Cold War spy plane will be buried in a mass grave today at Arlington National Cemetery.
For the family of Airman 2nd Class Harold T. Kamps of Lena, Wisconsin, who was 22 when his plane was shot down by Soviet pilots exactly 40 years ago, knowing their brother and uncle has finally been laid to rest will be a comfort.
"It's nice knowing that not just him but everybody that was on the plane and got killed in the Cold War didn't get killed for no reason, that they are being remembered," said David Kamps, a nephew who lives in Coleman.
The burial will mark the loss of the 17 U.S. Air Force crewmen aboard the C-130 Hercules.
The aircraft was shot down by Soviet MiGs over Armenia on Sept. 2, 1958. It was flying a reconnaissance mission near the Armenian border when it strayed into Soviet territory.
In 1993, a recovery team excavated the crash site and recovered 2,000 bone fragments, tooth fragments and aircraft parts.
Kamps left his family's Oconto County dairy farm shortly after graduating from Lena High School to join the Air Force.
He was the seventh in a family of 13 -- nine boys and four girls. Two of his brothers and two of his sisters plan to attend today's ceremony at Arlington.
Gerald Kamps, who was two years older than Harold, said his parents died without knowing what happened to their son.
"My mom always thought there was some chance he might be alive," he said. "There were stories, fabricated I think, that they saw parachutes from the plane, but that never was true. "My mom went to her grave without knowing all the facts," Gerald Kamps said Tuesday night from his Marinette home.
Gerald Kamps said his family was first told that the plane was missing, but several months later he saw a television news show that broadcast the voices of the Russian pilots believed to have shot down his brother's plane.
"The words of the pilot were, 'I got him.' From that point I figured he hadn't survived," Gerald Kamps said.
He said he plans to visit the grave of his brother and the other crew members at Arlington.
Posted: July 29, 2000 Updated: 21 November 2005