The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today Navy Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Harold L. Dick, 22, of Tipton, Missouri, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Nov. 26, 2018.
On July 24, 1944, Dick 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 USS Cleveland and destroyers USS Remey and USS 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 Dick. Dick 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. The remaining four were interred at the Manila American Memorial and Cemetery in the Philippines.
On Oct. 18, 2017, DPAA personnel, in partnership with the American Battle Monuments Commission, exhumed Unknown X-39 from the Manila American Memorial and Cemetery and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Dick’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Dick’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Dick will be buried Oct. 10, 2020, in his hometown.
For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.
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) 699-1420/1193.
Dick’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XftEEAS.