I had an interesting call, today

Not sure where this belongs. It’s regarding a US Military program so maybe this is ok.

A lady working for the Defense Dept. called me today about my uncle who died in a Japanese POW camp during WWII.

The military is conducting a world wide program of returning the remains of fallen soldiers to their families. This is from all wars- WWII and since.

They are tracing, locating and contacting the next of kin. Then they get DNA samples to help confirm the identity of the remains.

I’m the next of kin since his father, mother and only sibling (my mother) are dead.
I said I would be glad to give the DNA sample.

Odd thing is, the Army returned to us what they said were his remains in 1946 or 1947.
They are buried in a cemetery in Dallas. We always thought it was my uncle.

My guess is they sent us random bones because they didn’t have the technology then to really identify them. When a POW died in a Jap prison camp, I seriously doubt they made any effort to separate the remains and catalog them.

It isn’t Outside the Beltway either. The Pentagon is inside the Beltway.


was watching a civil war movie the other day. I wondered about how they did it back then.


Did you verify this was a call from the Defense Department? I’d be rather wary of giving out my DNA.

That’s interesting! What are your thoughts/feelings on the matter? To make it political and have a home here, there’s a resource investment to make this program happen. One of the main intended benefits (I’d think), in addition to honoring the deceased, is to provide closure, pride, etc. to family members - so curious as to your thoughts!

I verified it. The calling number was from the Genealogical firm the DoD has contracted with to find the families. I looked it up.
She said the Army would contact me within 60 days to arrange to do the test.

Perhaps they are trying to confirm proper reunifications have been performed. It is not uncommon that remains have been incorrectly distributed.

Just another sad and tragic aspect of war.

That the DOD takes this so seriously is a plus, even if there is potential for reopening wounds. I applaud the effort.

My wife’s uncle died in the Bataan Death March in WWII.

His “remains” were returned after the war and she vaguely remembers the funeral for him, no body. but she has wonderd how they were so certain it was him?

I think it is commendable. I think “we bring our soldiers home” is a noble goal.
It’s taking them a lot of time and expenditure to run this program and I appreciate it.

This uncle was also in the Bataan Death March. He survived the march and died in the prison a few months later.

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Good question. According to the Military only about 60% of Civil War soldier fatalities, both in the field and from hospitals, were ever properly identified.

I was surprised the number was that high after seeing the early images from so many of those conflicts of that war, the carnage, the total overwhelming nature of so many dead and wounded without the infrastructure to handle it.

Your wife may be getting one of those calls. Is she now the next of kin?


Who knows, perhaps he knew my wife’s uncle?

Sort of chilling.

Her and her older surviving brother.

He is in the same city where the uncle’s remains were returned.

I will have to make her aware of this!


There were 60,000 - 80,000 men, from 7 different camps in that march. But yes- they might have known each other.

Sometimes this big old world is just that small.

I agree! Certainly worse ways to spend tax dollars…

Here is the DoD website about this program. There is a lot of info, including huge lists of names of servicemen they are trying to find the families of.


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I’m glad my mother isn’t here to see this. She was very emotional about her brother’s death even after so many years had passed.
She would be very upset to learn that he wasn’t buried in that grave.

Okay, good to hear. You are a good man to follow through with this. :+1: