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Panel Discussion Includes Guests from the Department of Defense and Crash Excavation Team

WQED will present an exclusive, advanced screening of a new WQED documentary, ‘Homecoming: Sgt. Hamilton’s Long Journey’, on the evening of Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 7:00 PM at Ringgold Middle School in Monongahela. The documentary will have its television premiere on WQED-TV on Thursday, November 7 at 8pm.

WQED Screening
 ‘Homecoming: Sgt. Hamilton’s Long Journey’

Homecoming: Sgt. Hamilton’s Long Journey tells the story of Sgt. Vernon Hamilton, a 19-year-old Army Air Corpsman from Monongahela whose plane was shot down over Germany during World War II. The plane and remains of the three crew members were declared unrecoverable. However, decades later an excavation and forensics team would bring long-awaited closure to his family. Sgt. Hamilton’s 1943 Monongahela High School ring – discovered at the excavation site – was a key component in identifying his remains.

The 30-minute documentary features poignant interviews with family members and captures the triumphant homecoming tribute in April 2019 - organized by the people of Monongahela. WQED also takes viewers to the Offutt Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska where the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the Hamilton remains.

WQED Executive Producer David Solomon, who wrote, produced and directed the documentary is a Monongahela native and Ringgold High School graduate. “The community of Monongahela and surrounding Mon Valley turned out in a big way for Sgt. Hamilton’s funeral. These are mostly people who never met the man or his family, yet they lined the streets in respect. It is fitting that we hold our premiere screening in Mon City.”

Doors open at 6:15pm with the program beginning at 7pm. Immediately following the 30-minute documentary screening, Solomon will moderate a panel discussion which includes: 

  • Carrie LeGarde, an anthropologist with the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency which handled the identification of Sgt. Hamilton's remains. The DPAA houses the world's largest forensic skeletal laboratory containing remains from war zones dating back to World War II. Ms. LeGarde is currently the lead anthropologist working to identify the remains of 429 men killed on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor.
  • Mark Noah, Founder and Director of History Flight, which excavated the Hamilton crash site in Germany. History Flight has successfully recovered the remains of 325 MIAs from World War II.
  • Shelley Hamilton Atkins, of Lighthouse Point, FL. Mrs. Atkins is a Monongahela native and the niece of Sgt. Vernon Hamilton.
  • Paul Ruggieri, Emmy Award winning editor and director of photography on the "Homecoming" documentary. Ruggieri and Solomon have worked together on numerous award-winning historical, human interest and medical documentaries.

Tickets are free but required due to limited auditorium capacity. Tickets can be obtained on Eventbrite

Tickets can also be picked up in person daily at the Frye Funeral Home at 427 West Main St.or on Saturdays at the Monongahela Area Historical Society at 711 West Main Street, Monongahela.



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