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Daughter of MIA WWII Soldier hoping to access her father’s crash site in Belgium

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 11:06 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Linda Chauvin is at home in Charlottesville while excavation takes place on the site her father’s plane crashed in Belgium.

“It is absolutely breaking my heart that I can’t be there at this time,” she said.

Chauvin’s father, 2nd Lt. Gene Shauvin, was killed during Operation Market Garden on September 17, 1944. He was a pathfinder in the Army Air Corps flying a C-47 troop carrier.

“Their plane was shot down by anti-artillery aircraft from this little town called Retie, Belgium,” Chauvin said.

Since 1999, Linda says she has been doing everything in her power to learn more about her father, including trips to the crash site and making friends that she now considers family in Belgium.

“I’ve always wondered more about my father,” she said. “I’ve been so curious about him all of my life.”

Linda was three years old when her father left for war and didn’t come back. She has been on a mission to locate her father’s remains in a Belgian field. She’s pushed for another excavation attempt and got it. The only problem is she isn’t there.

“It’s like the whole town wants me to be there,” Chauvin said. “I hear from all these Belgian researchers and people that are invested in this story means an awful lot to them too. If they feel as we do that, we are their family too.”

Chauvin says she was promised the excavation would take place in the spring of 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic had other plans.

“They’ve [Belgium] really been in a lockdown, and so they’re allowing essential travel only, and of course my family feels this is essential travel. We just hope they’ll agree,” Chauvin said.

The excavation was delayed, but resumed back on April 25. While she waits for approval to travel back to Belgium, pictures and fragments from the plane are what get her through.

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