Hero P-51 Pilot Who Saved A Wounded B-17 Finally Found And Laid To Rest
delawareonline (background) / Defencse POW/MIA Accounting Agency (foreground)
Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Stanley F. Stegnerski, 25, of Chester, Pennsylvania, was shot down in his P-51D Mustang over Germany on November 21st, 1944. While escorting a squadron of B-17s on a bombing run. According to an eyewitness account, a P-51 with Stegnerski’s tail number was last seen fending off a German Fw 190 from a crippled B-17 that would have otherwise gone down if shot at by the attacking aircraft. Then, a German kill report stated that the Mustang was shot down over Merseberg, Germany.
The DPAA has over 72,000 missing service members on file to investigate.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency was alerted by two hikers of a crash site they found and went out to investigate. Finding an engine cowling, the finally excavated the site 8 years after the initial report and recovered Stegnerski’s personal belongings. After DNA analysis and comparing them to the remaining family members, the remains were positively identified to be that of 2nd Lt. Stegnerski.
His family welcomed him at the Delaware Memorial Veterans Cemetary where he will remain. The ceremony was also attended by the Hogs and Heroes Foundation as well as other veteran groups. They all wanted to welcome a World War II hero back home before giving him a proper burial.