Local News

Bay Area WWII veteran buried 70 years later

Friday, July 13, 2012

A fallen Bay Area Marine was laid to rest Friday nearly 70 years after he died in a plane crash during World War II. James Austin Sisney was buried with full military honors in San Bruno thanks to the persistence of a fellow crew member's family who never gave up hope of finding them.

Sisney was born in Oakland and raised in Redwood City. He joined the Marines in December 1942 and in 1944, during a nighttime training mission, his B-25 bomber crashed into the remote island of Espiritu Santu in the South Pacific. Sisney and the other six crew members were killed and it took until now to find them and bring them home.

On Thursday, his remains arrived at SFO and on Friday, he was buried with full military honors at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno. Sisney's niece never knew her uncle but says she knows he and her father were close as boys. For her, the burial was bittersweet. "Well, I think part of it is maybe because my dad can't be here to enjoy this, just the fact that he's now coming home and at rest the way he should be. It's a good feeling," Regina Sisney says.

His remains might never have been found if not for the relentless efforts of the Anderson family in Dallas who went to the island three times looking for the wreckage and remains of their uncle Second Lt. Walt Vincent. In 2007, they found the rusted tail with ID numbers still legible. Then, the joint POW/MIA Accounting Command took over excavating the site and doing DNA tests.

Sisley was a 1942 graduate of Redwood City's Sequoia High. On Friday, a 1952 graduate was there to honor him. "I think any time you can find any of these missing in action, it's wonderful to bring them home. I get emotional and I'm not even a relative," Sequoia High School Alumnus Carolyn Livengood.

This is not the end of Sisney's homecoming. In October, remains of the crew will be buried together at Arlington National Cemetery beneath a headstone with all their names.

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redwood city, san bruno, oakland, marines, local news, heather ishimaru
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