Vernal John Bird was born October 29, 1918 in Lindon, Utah to Walter F. & Christine Pearson (Ash) Bird. He attended schools in Lindon & Pleasant Grove, Utah. He served as Class President at Pleasant Grove High School. After High School he moved with his family to Springville, Utah where he found work in Construction.

He enlisted in the Army in 1941 and attended Field Artillery School at Ft. Sill. Other Army duty stations took him to Fort Lewis & Camp Murray, Washington and Fort F. E. Warren, Wyoming.

In 1942 he transferred to the Army Air Corps and received flight training at Santa Barbara, Rankin Field at Tulare & Merced Army Flying School, California. He received his wings at Yuma Army Airfield, Arizona July 28, 1943 and took A-20 training at Florence Army Airfield, South Carolina. He joined the 13th Bomb Squadron 3rd Bomb Group (L) in January 1944 while the Group was based at Nadzab Papua, New Guinea.

On March 12, 1944 while on his eighth mission against Boram Airdrome Wewak his aircraft began lagging behind. He and his gunner, Sgt. Roy F. Davis were declared MIA and subsequently KIA.

In 2001, partial remains and engine plates were discovered by a Papuan native and subsequently turned over to recovery teams and then to JPAC Central Identification Laboratory, Hickam Field, Hawaii. Positive identification was confirmed on August 28, 2013 with DNA samples from his sister Elaine. 

Lt. Birds remains were returned to Springville, Utah on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 at the SLC International Airport in Springville. On September 28th 2013 his remains were interred at the Evergreen Cemetery with full Air Force Military honors.

After 69 years, Vernal J. Bird finally came home.

R. I. P. - Lt. Bird - R. I. P.

 Young Vernal at Lindon, Utah

 Vernal & Nephew Levar Taylor

 

 Vernal in front of Milt's Tavern. Note the Pabst beer on the running board.

 Elaine & Vernal Bird

Mechanic Section  76th Brigade Hg. Btry.  Camp Murray, Washington  4/16/1942

 

 S/Sgt. Jay Bliss - Lt. Vernal Bird -  Sgt. Roy F. Davis 

 Lt. Vernal J. Bird  

 

 Collage

 Lt. Vernal J. Bird  Sgt. Roy F. Davis