Sailor Accounted For From World War II (Slaton, I.)

Release No: 19-018 Feb. 22, 2019
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WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today Navy Reserve Seaman 2nd Class Ira N. Slaton, 22, of Albertville, Alabama, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Sept. 24, 2018.

On July 24, 1944, Slaton was aboard the battleship USS Colorado, which was moored approximately 3,200 yards from the shore of Tinian Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Early in the morning, the USS Colorado, along with the light cruiser Cleveland and destroyers Remey and Norman Scott, commenced firing toward the island. Within two hours, a concealed Japanese shore battery opened fire on the USS Colorado and the USS Norman Scott. The first hit on the USS Colorado resulted in a heavy explosion, and the ship sustained extensive fragmentation damage. From the attack, four crewmen were declared missing in action, and 39 personnel were killed, including Slaton. Slaton and the other casualties were subsequently interred in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan.

In February 1948, under the direction of the American Graves Registration Service’s 9105th Technical Service Unit, three battlefield cemeteries, including the 4th Marine Division Cemetery, were disinterred. While the majority of identifications that had been tentatively made following the attack were upheld, nine sets were reclassified as “unknown.” Of those, five were eventually identified and four were declared as unknown and were interred at the Manila American Memorial and Cemetery in the Philippines.

On Oct. 18, 2017, personnel from DPAA, in partnership with the American Battle Monuments Commission, exhumed Unknown X-76 from the Manila American Memorial and Cemetery and accessioned the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Slaton’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

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 72,742 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Slaton’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in Honolulu, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For family information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.

Slaton will be buried April 6, 2019, in Horton, Alabama.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing 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.

Slaton’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XfJKEA0