Vernal Bird

Lost in New Guinea-1944
Returned Home-2013
Vernal J. Bird 25, was born in Lindon, Utah on October 29, 1918 to Walter F. and Christina Pearsson Ash Bird. He attended schools in Lindon and Pleasant Grove. He served as student body president for PGHS. He moved with his family to Springville where he found work in construction.
In 1941 he enlisted in the army and attended Field Artillery School. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. His training took him many places in the western U.S. and finally to South Carolina and Georgia.
On March 12, 1944 he was on his eighth mission flying his A-20G Havoc over Boram Airstrip near Wewak, PNG. His plane began lagging behind. The plane was subsequently lost in the Prince Alexander Range. It was decades before a Papuan national found the crash site.
Remains and data plates from the engines were turned over to recovery teams and then to JPAC Central Identification Laboratory, Hickam Field, Hawaii. Positive identification was confirmed on August 28, 2013 by his sister Elaine.
Numerous family members and friends, many who never met him, have mourned his loss and worried about the circumstances for 69 years. Those who knew him remember well his kindness and friendship to people of all ages.
Following him in death were his eleven half brothers and sisters: Joseph Ash, Helen Ash Fotheringham, Ellis Bird, Dewey Bird, Lawrence Bird, Olive Bird Fage, Evelyn Bird Taylor, Arabella Bird James, Helen Bird Jones Hilquist, O. Freeman Bird and Nell Bird Barton. He is survived by his full sister Elaine Bird Jack.
Funeral services will be held September 28, 2013 at 11:00 hosted by Vernal's home ward the Hobble Creek West 2nd Ward, but held at the neighboring ward house at 1700 East 900 South in Springville . The family and friend visitation will be held at 9:30. Interment will be at the Springville Evergreen Cemetery, 1997 South 400 East, Springville at 12:15.

Published in Salt Lake Tribune on Sept. 27, 2013