TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The remains of a World War II soldier who was killed in the line of duty will be buried at Bougainvillea Cemetery in Avon Park on Saturday, May 20.
On Friday, the Florida Highway Patrol escorted the remains of Army Air Forces 2nd Lieutenant Pharis E. Weekley from the Orlando International Airport to the Longleaf Industrial Park in Lake Wales. The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office took over the procession once it reached Highlands County, and are escorting his remains along U.S. Highway 27 to Main Street in Avon Park. There are over 600 motorcycles along with other cars, Jeeps and truck clubs taking part in the procession.
According to the U.S. Army, Weekley was navigating a B-24 Liberator aircraft when it crashed on Aug. 1, 1943, after being hit by an enemy anti-aircraft fire during Operation TIDAL WAVE. He was just 21 years old.
In 2017, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency uncovered some soldiers remains. Weekley’s remains were identified in July 2022 using circumstantial and dental evidence, anthropological and mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome DNA, and autosomal DNA analysis.