Army Air Forces Capt. Fulton Lanier was 27 years old when the C-87 aircraft he was on board crashed near Tibet during a flight from Kumming, China, to Jorhat, India — a notorious route known as “The Hump” because of the dangerous Himalayan Mountains that lined the path.
A year earlier, Lanier — a World War II veteran who served in Asia — was promoted to captain from first lieutenant. Two years after the crash, the Army issuing a Finding of Death report on Lanier and his entire crew in 1946. The plane’s wreckage — along with Capt. Lanier’s meal card — was discovered in the mid-1990s. DNA testing identified all of the crew members except Lanier, and a group burial was performed at Arlington National Cemetery.
Additional remains — well preserved in the high altitude — were located near the crash site in 2015, and Lanier was finally identified.
Those remains found their final resting place Thursday at Harnett Memorial Park in Lillington on a 92-degree day, far warmer than the crash site where Lanier had rested for 73 years.
Lanier, a native of Buies Creek, was buried with full military honors surrounded by family and descendants, flag-carrying veterans who circled the gravesite during the ceremony and a group of Chinese-American citizens from North Carolina. After a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps,” the flag that draped Lanier’s coffin was presented to his niece, Virginia Lanier Powers.
As a daughter and wife of a military soldiers I thank you for being there to pay respects. All soldiers need to be remembered when they are laid to rest in their final resting place. Thank you for sharing this and the pictures.