LUBBOCK TX, (KCBD) - In 1944 Staff Sgt Jimmie Doyle left his West Texas home to defend our country at the age of 25. Shortly after he went overseas he went missing in action leaving his family with so many unanswered questions, until now. "I was about 15 months the last time I saw him," said Tommy Doyle.
Tommy never got a chance to know his father. Jimmie left his wife and only child in Lamesa to go fight in World War II. He was a part of the Army Air Corp, now known as the Air Force. On September 1, 1944, Jimmie and his crew were flying over the Pacific Ocean near the island nation of Palau. That's when their plane was shot down. "The Japanese came out and picked them up, nobody ever knew who they were. They were all listed as MIA until after the war was over and then they were all declared killed in action," said Tommy.
Killed in action, a phrase Tommy's mother wasn't ready to accept. "For many, many years she kept up the hope for some reason that he'd got out and he was going to come home," said Tommy.
The uncertainty lingered as his body was never recovered, when his wife was laid to rest in 1992. "On her headstone she wanted her name and his name put on there," said Tommy.
And for good reason, On Saturday, 65 years later, Jimmie Doyle came home to Lamesa. "This makes it even more special to bury his remains right next to her," said Tommy.
Tommy says the journey to find his father wouldn't have been possible without a group known as the Bent Prop, whose sole purpose is to look for MIA's. The group started looking for Jimmie in 2000. "It's a small team, but it's a team that recognized a long time ago that sacrifices have been made in the defense of our country that need to be remembered and this is our way of saying thank you for those sacrifices," said Patrick Scannon the Bent Prop leader.
And Bent Prop isn't the only group to say thanks. Jimmie's Grandson Casey Doyle says he is amazed by the overwhelming support from the community. "It's all so great to see all the people here in Lamesa, Snyder, and all of West Texas and all the way from Dallas that have never known my grandfather but still come out to show respect either driving down the road or here at the cemetery, it says so much about people it's really hard to describe," said Casey.
"It's all been real emotional, I don't know another word to say then real emotional. It's a feeling of fulfillment. It's something that you never thought was going to happen, but you sit back and watch it go through the phases until it finally does happen," said Tommy.
And it did happen on Saturday when Tommy welcomed home a soldier, a hero, his dad. "I lived all my life without a father and now I have one back and I can put him to rest and this kind of makes the whole circle complete," said Tommy.
The entire process to discover and retrieve Jimmie Doyle's remains took about nine years. Tommy Doyle tells us one of his fondest memories was when he was able to go diving in the South Pacific to see his father's crashed plane.
|A Million Thanks.org|