Today, Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI) spoke on the House floor to honor and welcome home Corporal LaVerne "Dirk" Van Dyke. Corporal Van Dyke was laid to rest this week after being listed as missing since his plane went down during World War II. Corporal Van Dyke was a native of Zeeland, Michigan. Congressman Huizenga's full remarks, including video, are available below.
Congressman Bill Huizenga
I rise today to welcome home Corporal LaVerne "Dirk" Van Dyke, who sacrificed his life during WWII and was finally laid to rest in his and my hometown of Zeeland, Michigan after nearly 80 years.
U.S. Army Air Forces Corporal Dirk Van Dyke served as a flight engineer on a B-25C aircraft in the Pacific Theater when his plane went missing.
Corporal Van Dyke and six other crewmembers were last seen departing an airport on a reconnaissance mission off the coast of New Guinea on January 18, 1943.
Despite an extensive search, members of the Fifth Air Force were not able to locate the plane or the airmen.
Many years later, the wreckage was discovered in the mountains of Papua New Guinea and the remains of Corporal Van Dyke and other crewmembers were seemingly identified but not [authenticated].
However, recently the Department of Defense officially considered Corporal Van Dyke accounted for.
Madam Speaker, we will never forget the selfless actions, sacrifice, and dedication to our country by these service members.
To Corporal Van Dyke's family -- our entire nation holds you in our prayers as we prepare for Memorial Day and as you welcome Dirk home as an American hero.
Rest easy Corporal Van Dyke. Rest easy.