HICKAM FIELD, HI. (WWBT) - - As Americans around the nation take time to honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, one man who died in combat during World War II will finally get a full military burial 70 years after his death.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the remains a U.S. serviceman who had been unaccounted for since WWII has been identified and is being returned to his family where he will get a burial with full military honors Saturday afternoon in Minnesota during the Memorial Day weekend.
Navy Motor Machinist's Mate 1st Class John E. Anderson of Wilmar, MN. was in a landing craft tank on June 6, 1944 that landed on Omaha Beach, France during the invasion of Normandy.
While Anderson went to the engine room, the tank was destroyed by either enemy fire or an enemy mine.
Anderson lost his life in the attack.
According to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, 416,800 service members from America lost their lives in the several theaters of combat during the war.
In July of 1944, remains were found in the boiler room of the LCT, which were then interred by the Army at the temporary American cemetery near Omaha Beach, St. Laurent-sur-Mer #1 and designated X-91 St. Laurent.
At the time, Army Graves Registration did not have access to the Navy's records, and were unable to identify the remains as Anderson's. The remains were later re-interred at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
Over 70 years later, after a request from the family of Anderson in January of 2015, a new investigation by DPAA showed a strong association between the unidentified remains and Anderson.
To identify Anderson's remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence; mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a sister and a nephew; as well as anthropological analysis.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's mission is to "Provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation," even partnering with other nations to aid in the identification of missing and unaccounted for service members.
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