An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
Official websites use .mil
website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
Skip to main content (Press Enter).
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Fulfilling Our Nation's Promise
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Recently Accounted For
World War II
World War II Summary
Battle of Tarawa
Attack on Pearl Harbor
Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII
Korean War Summary
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Battle of Unsan
Korean Air Battles
The Inchon Campaign
The Pusan Perimeter
The DMZ Campaigns
Korean War Disinterments
Korean War POW/MIA List
Vietnam War Summary
Vietnam War Identification Project
Battle of Khe Sanh
Battle of Ia Drang
Vietnam War POW/MIA List
Iraq & Other Conflicts
Searchable List of the Missing
Searchable Map of the Missing
News & Stories
Recent News & Stories
Year In Review
AFMES DNA Laboratory
Publicly Released Documents
Family/VSO Update Notes
Family Member Guide
POW/MIA Day Toolkit
Report a Site
Donate to the Mission
| April 30, 2018
Funeral Announcement For Soldier Killed During World War II (Ball, B.)
WASHINGTON – The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, is being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. Billy R. Ball, 20, of Matthews, Missouri, accounted for on Aug. 28, 2017, will be buried May 4 in St. Louis, Missouri. On Dec. 8, 1941, Ball was a member of Headquarters Detachment Philippines Department, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands. Intense fighting continued until the surrender of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and of Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942.
Thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were taken prisoner; including many who were forced to endure the Bataan Death March, en route to Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camps, including the POW camp at Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Ball was among those reported captured after the surrender of Corregidor and who were eventually moved to the Cabanatuan POW camp. More than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the remaining years of the war.
According to prisoner records, Ball died on Sept. 28, 1942, and was buried along with fellow prisoners in the local Cabanatuan camp cemetery.
Following the war, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery and relocated the remains to a temporary U.S. military cemetery near Manila. In late 1947, the AGRS again exhumed the remains at the Manila cemetery in an attempt to identify them. Due to the circumstances of the POW deaths and burials, the extensive commingling, and the limited identification technologies of the time, all of the remains could not be individually identified. The unidentified remains were reburied as unknowns in the present-day Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
In May 2016, the Secretary of the Army granted permission to exhume six graves associated with Cabanatuan Common Graves 437 and 439. On May 11, 2017, the remains were sent to DPAA for identification.
To identify Ball’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,934 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Although interred as an "unknown" in Manila, Ball’s grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery site along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.