Crash site of 1st Lt Shannon Estill discussion
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Crash site of 1st Lt Shannon Estill
On 13.04.1945 12:58 1st Lt Shannon Eugene Estill took off in his P-38 Lightning from airfield Straßfeld near Euskirchen. Together with his comrades of the 428th Fighter Squadron they were tasked to find German tanks near Torgau and eliminate them.
Estill is a 22 year old pilot from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He had married his wife just before he left for Europe. In April he got a letter from his wife about the birth of his first child. This mission is the last before he could see his daughter.
Near the village Elsnig the group spotted a train and attacked it when German 88mm flak-fire engaged the Lightnings. Estills P-38 got a direct hit in the middle of the fuselage. It immediately exploded and crashed, Estill died without seeing his baby Sharon.
Beyond the Iron Curtain, U.S. military personnel could not recover Estill’s remains after the war. In 2005 Sharon Taylor-Estill traveled to Germany to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance. She is determined to find his plane and his remains. Her search began forty years ago. When she turned 21 she was given the letters her father wrote to her mother during the war. They are a touching collection of love letters. Through the letters she meets her father when he was her age. Sharon vows that she will find her father and do what her mother could not – she will bring him home. The Last Flight of Lieutenant Estill is a story about the power of love and finding closure.
With the help of a German archeologist, specialized in locating lost WWII planes, she found the exact location where her father’s plane was shot down. Sharon’s discovery sets the machinery of the US military in motion. From Hawaii, a recovery team of the “Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command” (JPAC) embarks on a journey to East Germany. This taskforce is in action around the globe, and its job is to “bring the boys home”. After six days the excavation unit makes its first find: small, rounded pieces of bone, clearly of human origin. But are they really the remains of Lt. Shannon Estill? To match the DNA the remains are taken to Hawaii – home of the world’s largest forensic laboratory. Using state of the art technology, the scientists manage to clearly identify the remains of Lieutenant Estill. The bones are his. Sharon has found her father and can finally lay him to rest at Arlington Cemetery. Dad has finally come home.