WO woman gets closure 66 years after brother's plane went down
By STACY LEE , Daily News Staff Writer
The Daily News reported on Nov. 17, 1942, that a 20-year-old McKeesport man was missing after his Army bomber was overdue the previous day.
Nearly 66 years later, Army Air Force Staff Sgt. William Kittiko's family finally has some answers as to what happened to him after divers found his B-26 Marauder over the summer 75 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 30 miles southwest of Sanibel Island.
Kittiko was one of a six-member crew that didn't return to Page Field in Fort Myers, Fla., from a training session on Nov. 16, 1942, at 3:10 a.m.
Tracy Miller, of Ft. Myers, Fla., called Abigail Casey, on June 23 to tell her that a group of divers found the plane her brother was on. Coincidentally, it was just one day before the missing pilot's birthday.
"I didn't know if this was a joke or not," Casey said. "When I got off the phone, I didn't know what to do so I just sat there and thought. Whenever, I called (her son) Mark, things really took off."
Mark Casey, an NBC news director in Phoenix, verified that the B-26 was found.
Abigail Casey said her son told diver Tom O'Brien that the family would be down right away and O'Brien cautioned that it could take a couple years to get things tied up with the government.
"Mark says, 'We're not waiting. We're coming,'" Abigail Casey said.
"We made reservations on Thursday - we were there Friday morning," Abigail Casey's daughter Vicky Tomcik, of Port Vue, said. "I never did anything that spontaneous."
Daughters Clare Best, and Christine Casey, joined Abigail, Mark Casey and Vicky Tomcik on the three-day trip.
O'Brien showed the family all the items he had from the bomber.
The family was taken out on a boat on June 29 for a funeral service led by Deacon Charles Kiesel Sr., and flower wreaths were thrown out to sea.
"We threw the wreaths over the site and said the names of the men that were on board," Vicky Tomcik said.
The divers were looking for treasure when they found the Marauder, Abigail said.
To read this and all the stories in today's Daily News, eligible subscribers can register for our Electronic Edition.
ŠThe Daily News 2008