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July 13, 2016 - There are stories so compelling that, after hearing them, one can’t put them out of one’s mind. Volunteers worlds away, chance circumstances, and years of research have lead Hans Wronka, the grandson of WWII pilot 1st Lt. Loren Hintz, and his family to locate the site, remains, and aircraft where his grandfather was killed in action.
AirCorps Aviation of Bemidji, Minnesota, has announced that they are honored to help relay the poignant life story and service of Loren who was killed in action flying a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter over Italy on April 21, 1945.
Finding Loren is the story of a common man, compelled to serve his country, who gave the ultimate sacrifice just days from the victory in Europe celebrations (V-E Day). Loren wasn’t a fighter ace, but his life and devotion to his country deserve the same recognition; AirCorps Aviation will honor him by preserving his legacy.
The team will also bring to light the experiences of Loren’s wife, Gert, who was raising a young daughter (while pregnant with the couple’s second child) upon learning of Loren’s death. Gert never remarried, but spent her life building a strong family, working hard in service to her community, and honoring Loren’s legacy. Finding Loren will also extend beyond Loren’s journal and writings to delve into the firsthand testimony and accounts of extended family, friends, and fellow service members whom Loren touched throughout his life.
Hans, Loren’s grandson and a resident of Duluth, Minnesota, has embarked on an epic 12-year journey with his family, as well as a team of Italian WWII aviation enthusiasts and archeologists, to decipher military records, maps, and statements, in relation to the current landscape, to confidently identify Loren’s crash site. Community members and landowners are prepared for the excavation planned for late July 2016. To evaluate the site and confirm the location, geophysics has been employed and has positively identified the presence of a large metallic object several meters below the surface.
On July 10, AirCorps Aviation began telling the story of Finding Loren through a variety of media and in coordination with a national marketing firm. The journey will take the audience through the Italian countryside, Loren’s life and writings, recent interview videos and firsthand experience audio, as well as an insider’s look into the historical documents and resources that showcase the stories of those who lived through the occupation and liberation of Italy. Hans and the excavation team will take the world through the site, community, and experience.
Ultimately, the story will build up to the July 23 excavation of the crash site in the Italian countryside in which AirCorps will take part. The team of more than 200 volunteers will assist in the effort to examine the findings from the site and tell Loren’s story in multiple languages.
Follow this remarkable multimedia story via the Finding Loren website.