After Nearly 50 Years, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Remains Return Home

Posted at 8:29 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 21:31:50-04

After nearly 50 years, the family of Technical Sergeant William O'Kieff received the remains of the Vietnam War Veteran.

O'Kieff's was presumably killed when his plane crashed on November 27, 1970. His remains were not identified until about one month ago. O'Kieff's family were notified and it was arranged for the remains to be brought back to Murfreesboro.

"It's sort of been an open wound in my family for many years," said Nancy Nipper, O'Kieff's Niece. "Because in 1970, there was no internet. I mean, we would get cables. You didn't get an email or a phone call even."

O'Kieff arrived at Nashville International Airport at 1:15 this afternoon. Military service members were present to unload his casket as O'Kieff's family and a concourse of people watched.

"After 47 years, they respect the body enough to bring it back and just not leave him there and not talk to us about it," said Nipper. "For me, for my cousin Dawn and cousin Alex, it's a great end to some really difficult times in our life. I'm so grateful."

A procession from the airport to Murfreesboro immediately followed his arrival in Tennessee. 

Funeral services for O'Kieff will be held at Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Saturday. Flags in the state will also fly at half staff in O'Kieff's honor.