John Steiger inadvertently launched an investigation when he provided a link to the headstone for George Paonessa at the Arlington National Cemetery. I had wondered, if Flight 19 disappeared without a trace, then how could there be a
As noted in early postings, I contacted Arlington and learned that there is a section that holds markers for those whose bodies were not available for burial. Those lost at sea, those buried at sea, and those lost in combat and whose bodies were not recovered are just some of the examples.
Since only Paonessa had a marker rather than all those lost on Flight 19, I believed it had to have been a family member who requested it. Had the Navy done it, there should have been headstones for all of those lost and if the Marines had done it, then there should have been one for each of the Marines lost. Family was the only answer.
Today, I received an email from a family member that ended this one, rather minor part, of the overall mystery. He wrote, “Hi. My Aunt Louise, who has since passed away, was the one who wrote to Ogden Reid the United States Representative from Westchester County & that's how the head stone was put there.”
There is nothing mysterious about the headstone. There is nothing about the headstone to suggest a cover up by the Navy. There is a logical explanation for that headstone. I was just curious about a headstone when there was no body. The headstone suggested that this might be a link into what had happened to Flight 19. Instead was just a family member wishing to honor a Marine who died in the service of his country. A nice tribute for a man who died long ago.