Fallen WWII Airmen honored in Bologna, Italy

WWII fallen pilot honored in Bologna, Italy

Italian civic leaders and community members gather for a memorial ceremony honoring 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot, Oct. 6, 2017, near Bologna, Italy. During WWII, Joyce was killed on July 15, 1944, after his plane was shot down by opposing German forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Air Cory W. Bush)

WWII fallen pilot honored in Bologna, Italy

Italian civic leaders and community members gather for a memorial ceremony honoring 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot, Oct. 6, 2017, near Bologna, Italy. Many local Italians, who were children at the time, attended the ceremony to tell their story moments following the crash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Air Cory W. Bush)

WWII fallen pilot honored in Bologna, Italy

A U.S. Army Air Corps replica plane performs aerial maneuvers for a memorial ceremony honoring 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot, Oct. 6, 2017, near Bologna, Italy. During WWII, Joyce crashed his P-47 on July 15, 1944, after his plane was shot down by opposing German forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Air Cory W. Bush)

WWII fallen pilot honored in Bologna, Italy

A relative of 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot, lays his mother’s gloves on top of Joyce’s memorial, Oct. 6, 2017, near Bologna, Italy. Joyce’s 14 relatives traveled from the U.S. to honor his legacy during the memorial ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Air Cory W. Bush)

WWII fallen pilot honored in Bologna, Italy

Lt. Col. Andrew Stoy, 31st Medical Group deputy commander, speaks during a memorial ceremony for 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot, Oct. 6, 2017, near Bologna, Italy. On July 29, 1993, three Italians, who were children at the time of the crash, helped excavate Joyce’s remains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Air Cory W. Bush)

WWII fallen pilot honored in Bologna, Italy

Relatives of 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot, stand beside Joyce’s memorial, Oct. 6, 2017, near Bologna Italy. During WWII, Joyce crashed his P-47 on July 15, 1944, after his plane was shot down by opposing German forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Air Cory W. Bush)

BOLOGNA, Italy -- Recently, a small but significant memorial service was held in Bologna, Italy, for 2nd Lt. Paul R. Joyce, a U.S. Army Air Corps P-47 pilot shot down during World War II.

Fourteen relatives of Joyce traveled from the U.S. to honor their veteran ancestor. The service was also attended by local Italian civic leaders and community members as well as Airmen from Aviano Air Base.

During WWII, Joyce’s aircraft was shot down by opposing German forces and crashed near Bologna, Italy, where he died on July 5, 1944.

On July 29, 1993, three Italians, who were children at the time of the crash, helped excavate Joyce’s remains. During the memorial service, other local Italians who were also children at the time, swapped personal stories and memories of the moments following the crash in 1944.

A U.S. Army Air Corps replica plane performed aerial maneuvers in honor of Joyce’s honorable service during the memorial ceremony.