Long journey home: World War II soldier killed in action to be buried in Spokane Saturday

SPOKANE, Washington – A Spokane soldier’s long journey home finally comes to an end Saturday, as the pilot shot down during World War II will finally be laid to rest.

Lt. Eugene Shauvin grew up in Spokane and graduated from Rogers High School.

On leave from his time with the U.S. Army, he told his wife he had a bad feeling about his return and the dangerous mission he was about to embark on. He left his wife and three-year-old daughter Linda and headed back to war.

Not long after, his premonition came true.

Shauvin was flying a C-47 Skytrain over Belgium when the plane was shot down.

Six paratroopers bailed out, but the rest of the crew, including Shauvin, died in the crash.

He was just 25 years old.

Some of the bodies were recovered immediately, but many remained missing. By October 1951, the U.S. military declared Shauvin “non-recoverable.”

World War II soldier Eugene Shauvin with his family

Lt. Eugene Shauvin with his family shortly before his plane was shot down in WWII

A daughter’s mission

In 1999, Linda Shauvin contacted the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, with evidence she believed her father could be found.

Investigations at the site in 2002 and 2003 recovered the cockpit, but not the remains.

Linda kept pressing, though, and was able to convince the agency to try again.

On March 2, 2022, search crews found and positively identified Shauvin’s remains.

Bringing Him Home

Last Friday, Linda Shauvin stood on the tarmac at Spokane International Airport.

Before passengers could get off the plane, soldiers entered the cargo hold and draped a flag over Eugene Shauvin’s casket.

Linda, who spent much of her life waiting for this day, was the one to greet her father as he touched down on Spokane soil for the first time in nearly 80 years.

On Saturday, Linda will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane as her father is buried with full military honors.

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