Verleen Tucker: Still searching for MIA veteran
November 10, 2015
To the editor:
I am the niece of Pvt. Norman B. Foster. Norman was born in Littleton in 1928, was raised in Craig, and graduated from Craig High School in 1943. He was drafted into the Army and served with Company A of the 70th Tank Battalion. Norman was a part of the D-Day Invasion on June 6, 1944. On his way to Utah Beach, the landing craft Norman was on (LCT-593) hit an underwater mine. Norman never made it to shore. He has been listed as MIA ever since. A white military headstone commemorates his life in the Craig Cemetery.
Since late spring of 2014, our family has been working with a newly formed branch of the U.S. Government called the Past Conflicts Repatriations Branch. The PCRB has been formed in an attempt by the government to make a better effort to recover the remains of MIA’s. There are currently over 83,000 MIA’s.
While the path has not been easy — and we still have a long way to go — our family has “dug in our heels” with the PCRB. We have refused to take “no” for an answer concerning the recovery of Norman’s remains. We have enlisted the help of Sen. Michael Bennet in this effort.
Yesterday I received an email from Senator Bennet's office, which contained a letter from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Written by Director Michael S. Linninton, the letter reads in part:
“In 2014, DPAA analysts were contacted by private researchers from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, who had assembled information regarding Private Foster’s loss. As a result my analysts collected underwater sonar information from the seafloor around Private Foster’s loss area from the Navy History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archeology Branch. The Navy found multiple vessels as well as numerous “magnetic anomalies” that could be associated with D-Day Losses.
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Our World War II historians are using this underwater data, in conjunction with historical records related to the invasion, to determine the location of sunken vessels off the French coast. At the present time, the exact location of LCT-593 has not been verified. However, recent underwater surveys by French and British teams re-mapped several sunken vessels near Utah Beach. DPAA is in the process of obtaining the data from those surveys, which our historians will analyze for any information that possibly pertains to the case of Private Foster. Any new information will be passed on to the family through the Army Casualty Office.”
Norman’s parents are gone. All of his siblings have passed except his brother, Donald. Our family is resolved that one more generation will not pass without an effort by the U.S. Government to put a dive team in the English Channel, close to Utah Beach, in an attempt to recover our uncle. We are resolved that an effort will be made to bring Norman home to Craig.
We will keep the community of Craig informed of all that transpires in this matter.