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News Release

Press Release | Feb. 22, 2022

Soldier Accounted For From World War II (Esmay, M.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army 1st Lt. Myles W. Esmay, 21, of Utica, New York, killed during World War II, was accounted for on May 25, 2021.

In the spring and summer of 1944, Esmay, an infantry engineer, was a member of Company B, 236th Engineer Combat Battalion, reinforcing the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), also known as Merrill’s Marauders. Esmay’s battalion arrived at the recently captured airfield in Myitkyina, Burma, on May 28, where they were tasked with holding the airfield and taking part in the siege of Myitkyina. On June 4, the battalion attacked Japanese forces at Namkwi village northwest of the airfield. The fighting lasted until June 7. Esmay was reported to have been killed on the last day of fighting.

The remains of servicemen killed during the battle were buried in at least eight different temporary cemeteries and numerous isolated burial locations. Eventually, all known burials were concentrated into the U.S. Military Cemetery at Myitkyina, including the remains of those who were not identified. In January and February 1946, all of the remains at the U.S. Military Cemetery were disinterred and transferred to the U.S. Military Cemetery at Kalaikunda, India. The exhumation of the U.S. Military Cemetery at Kalaikunda was conducted in September and October 1947.

One set of remains, designated Unknown X-64 Kalaikunda, was unable to be identified and was subsequently buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, in March 1949.

On April 15, 2019, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-64 Kalaikunda from the Punchbowl and transferred the remains to the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

To identify Esmay’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Esmay’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Philippines, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Esmay will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined.

For family and funeral information, call the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.

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 or find us on social media at or

Esmay’s personnel profile can be viewed at