1-218-444-4478 PO BOX 847, BEMIDJI, MN 56619
1-218-444-4478 PO BOX 847, BEMIDJI, MN 56619

Finding Loren

AirCorps Aviation > Finding Loren
Finding Loren
Name1st Lt Loren Hintz
AircraftP-47 Thunderbolt

AirCorps Aviation of Bemidji, MN was honored to assist in the relay of the poignant life story and service of 1st Lt Loren Hintz who was killed in action flying a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter over Italy on April 21, 1945.

Relive the remarkable excavation captured by Eric Trueblood of AirCorps Aviation who assisted the family in their 12 year quest which culminated with the excavation on July 23, 2016. The incredible effort by the family, key supporters, volunteers of AdA (Archeologi dell’Aria) made locating the aircraft, Loren’s remains, and his dogtags possible.

Finding Loren is the story of a young man, compelled to serve his country, who gave the ultimate sacrifice just days from victory in Europe celebrations (VE Day). Loren Hintz wasn’t a fighter ace, but his life and devotion to his country deserve the same recognition; we honor him by preserving his legacy.

Hans Wronka, Lt. Hintz’s grandson, has embarked on an epic journey with his family, as well as a team of Italian WWII aviation enthusiasts and archaeologists, to decipher military records, maps, and statements to confidently identify Lt Hintz’s crash site. Community members and landowners are prepared for the excavation planned for late July 2016. Follow along with us to see the rest of this captivating story unfold.

Finding Loren Timeline

10/19/1917

Loren Hintz was born in Lake Park, Iowa

1937

Book of poetry “Youth Dreams” published, writing as Loren Baum (Paal Batab)

4/2/1943

Loren E. Hintz marries Helen Gertrude Russell (Gert or Gertie)

11/7/1943

Loren passes Instrument Flight Test at Luke Field in Phoenix, AZ

12/5/1943

Loren graduates with Class 43-K, West Coast Training Center, United States Army Air Forces, Luke Field, AZ

1/6/1944

Gretchen Hintz was born (daughter of Loren & Gert)

4/18/1945

Loren writes what would be his last letter to Gert

4/19/1945

Loren authors his last journal entry

4/21/1945

Loren flies his last mission over Bologna, Italy

5/5/1945

Gert is sent a battle casualty telegram saying Loren is Missing in Action

6/1/1945

Martin Hintz was born (son of Loren & Gert)

6/25/1945

A confirmation letter is sent to Gert that says Loren was killed in action

12/2000

Hans Wronka (son of Gretchen/grandson of Loren) posts an online inquiry about Loren Hintz to a 79th Fighter Group reunion website

2/2005

Hans obtains the Missing Air Crew Report that contains a small map of the presumed crash area

5/2005

Hans meets a new coworker named John and they establish the connection between Loren (Hans’ grandfather) and Bob Johnston (John’s father-in-law)

Memorial Day Weekend 2005

Hans & family meet Bob Johnston at Gretchen’s house in Bloomington, MN to hear as many stories as possible about his training and wartime experience with Loren

5/6/2012

Piero Fabbri’s initial email to Hans, indicating he has additional information about Loren Hintz

7/2/2012 - 7/12/2013

Hans and family visit Italy and meet Piero and other involved in searching for Loren’s crash site

Summer 2012

Hans & Eric Trueblood, from AirCorps Aviation, connect during a conversation about P-47s and AirCorps’ upcoming restoration project

Fall 2015

Piero and colleagues perform a geophysical scan which indicates a large metallic object several feet underground

Fall 2015

Hans obtains the Individual Deceased Personnel File on Loren, a comprehensive collection of reports and correspondence related to his death

7/15/2016

Members of Wronka/Hintz families begin arriving in Bologna prior to the excavation

7/23/2016

Hundreds gather at the excavation site to learn what remains of the P-47 fighter in which Loren Hintz lost his life 71 years before. Ultimately, even Loren’s dog tags would be discovered.

EXCAVATION PHOTOS

7/27/2016

Wronka family travels to recreate pictures at San Marino Castle, one of the sites Loren had visited while on leave

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