WEST, Texas (Fox 44) — After nearly 80 years of uncertainty, WWII solider Louis Girard was identified and brought home for burial in West, Texas.

“We just always heard about him,” cousin Linda Henry said. “I’m so happy for this family that they got to see him return home.”

Hundreds of people in the community showed up Saturday for Girard. The majority of them did not meet him.

“It’s just he warms my heart with love to know that this has been done,” Henry said.

Louis Girard is from West. He was serving as the co-pilot of a B-24 liberator aircraft. It crashed August 1, 1943, after being hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire during Operation Tidal Wave.

In 2017, the DPAA began exhuming unknowns they thought were associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation Tidal Wave and examining them.

Girard was accounted for March 28, 2022.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle that he was identified nearly 80 years after combat in World War II,” nephew Chris Girard said. “I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the army for never giving up on the mission to return louis home.”

Casualties Assistance Officer Samuel Kim says they don’t leave the fallen behind no matter how long its been.

“Our country is willing to go above and beyond, even after over 80 years, trying to find everyone and bring them home,” Kim said.