His grandfather had been missing for over fifty years. They combed through every record they could find and made sure they followed every lead they had.
He was hanging on to his last shred of hope, discouraged by the fact that his family would not receive their well-deserved closure. But then he got a phone call one evening that altered everything.
The Dumphy household endured seventy-five years of restless nights as a result of World War II. For their family, what many consider a momentous historical event was a never-ending horror.
The family had been searching for more than 50 years for their grandfather Jacob’s remains. He was declared missing during his time as a pilot during the war. The Dumphys were about to give up until Jacob’s grandson, Nathan, stumbled upon information.
Nathan did not know his grandfather, and all he his information came from stories. His grandfather inspired him to join school to become an U.S Air Force pilot.
Nathan eventually got promoted to captain of the Air Force, and all this travelling around the world made Nathan desire to provide his family with closure. He decided to do some research in an attempt to answer the questions they’ve had for nearly 75 years.
Nathan informed his grandmother Sheryl of the information that week. Sheryl’s eyes began to tear up. She told Nathan about her agony in trying to figure out what had happened to her spouse.
However, she was also overcome by pride because he was searching for answers. He could have a better chance as an air force officer than she did.
When Nathan saw his grandmother cry, he knew he needed to succeed. He opened wounds that were buried years ago, so now it was his responsibility to find the answers that will heal them.
Nathan used his position in the Air Force to call in favors and gathered records from the second world war to prepare him for his search. The truth regarding Jacob’s death was hidden amid those papers.
Nathan’s search yielded two crucial results. His grandfather had been relieved of duty before being asked back at the last moment.
His grandmother often spoke about how her husband was a kind man with a giving heart. Scanning through all those papers reaffirmed his grandmother’s words. His grandfather had been invited to lead a top-secret rescue expedition, and he had agreed.
Nathan also learned about the planes that Jacob and his crew used on their expedition. They were given Grumman Hellcat bombers, which were a favorite of the Allies.
Nathan learned that his grandfather was a skilled pilot so it was strange that his grandfather and two other pilots were, at the conclusion of their operation, proclaimed lost in action.
The family spent years trying to find Jacob. The responsibility now rest’s in Nathan’s hands.
With the authorization that came with his position, he was able to obtain maps and mission objectives. He researched the flight paths used by his grandfather seventy-five years ago. He sensed he was on the verge of discovering the truth.
Nathan dug deeper and discovered deaths and injuries in his grandfather’s squad on the other side of enemy lines. However, the sources were unable to determine the exact location of the fatalities.
Nathan uncovered that Jacob was successful in his mission as he stated the good news on his radio prior to being asked to return back to his base. He didn’t make contact with his base again after that.
Nathan spent weeks finding out whatever he could regarding his grandfather’s final mission. Despite the fact that he was able to discover the location of the objective, he quickly ran into a roadblock.
The remaining information was classified. Nathan tried to enlist the help of his fellow officers, but they were powerless to help. Nathan ended his search, disheartened, and went to tell his grandmother the awful news. He had no notion what was in store for him when he arrived.
Nathan flew to his grandma’s that night. He found his cousins, uncles, and aunts waiting with Sheryl.
“What did you find?” Sheryl asked, her eyes bright with anticipation. “A lot,” Nathan said. He was about to fill his family in on his discoveries when his phone rang. It was one of his military buddies. He excused himself, hoping this was good news.
“Can I get a laptop?” Nathan almost cried out. One of his cousins ran for one, and Nathan sat down. He couldn’t believe what his friend had shared with him.
“What are you looking for?” Sheryl asked, no doubt alarmed by the sudden change in her grandson. “I might’ve found something, gran,” Nathan answered. He logged onto YouTube, and his jaw almost dropped.
“Three hellcats were lost during grandpa’s last operation,” Nathan said. He shared the YouTube video with his family. “This crash site matches the location and attack route of the operation.”
Nathan saw hope bloom in his grandma’s eyes for the first time in decades. He felt the energy radiating within her and knew he needed to do more.
Nathan reached out to the man who uploaded the video. He told him his family story, and the man graciously invited him to his home, which was close to the crash site.
Nathan and his family traveled to Finland that same week, meeting Floki, who took them to the site. Nathan couldn’t believe what they found.
Jacob’s Hellcat bomber was almost in good condition. Floki informed Nathan that the plane surfaced out of the ground after years’ worth of snow began melting.
“There was a man inside,” Floki shared. “We buried him in the army cemetery just outside town.” He shared a WWII legend from this region about a pilot who, instead of ejecting from his flaming plane, steered it away from a refugee camp, saving countless lives.