Sixteen million Americans served during World War II. More than 400,000 would return home in caskets after being killed in the conflict. More so, 72,333 of the 400,000 would not return to their families, as they were still missing. That was the reality of the families whose sons, daughters, dads, or maybe moms never really made it back, whose last memory of them was leaving to fight for the country.

Best Friends and Brothers-at-hand

Two best friends would answer the call of World War II and enlist together to serve: First Lt. Jim Louvier and First Lt. Bill Gray. Before they went, the two made a pact that if one of them did not make it back home, the other would take care of the family of whoever would not make it back home.

First Lt. Jim Louvier screen captured from

First Lt. Louvier served as a bomber co-pilot, while his buddy Gray was a 391st Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group member. In September of 1945, Louvier would return to Washington, and just two months later, he would marry Gray’s sister, Jeanne. However, Bill would sadly not witness the wedding of his sister and best friend as he did not make it back home.


On April 16, 1945, then 21-year-old Gray was on a dive-bombing mission in his single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt and flying near Lindau, Sachsen-Anhalt, in Germany when, according to his flight leader, his aircraft’s left wing clipped some trees and caused him to crash in Lindau. The world was just three weeks away from witnessing the war’s end when the mishap occured.