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


Loren Hintz was born in Lake Park, Iowa


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


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


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


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


Gretchen Hintz was born (daughter of Loren & Gert)


Loren writes what would be his last letter to Gert


Loren authors his last journal entry


Loren flies his last mission over Bologna, Italy


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


Martin Hintz was born (son of Loren & Gert)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.



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

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #FindingLoren

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