The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. William T. Carneal, 24, of Paducah, Ky., will be buried on April 25, in his hometown. In mid June 1944, the 27th Infantry Division (ID) landed on Saipan as part of the Allied strategic goal of securing the Marina Islands. On July 7, 1944, enemy forces conducted an intense attack on the 27th ID, 105th Infantry Regiment (IR) position. During these attacks, elements of the 105th IR sustained heavy losses, killing and injuring more than 900 servicemen. As a result of these attacks, Carneal was reported killed in action.
On March 21, 2013, a Japanese nongovernmental organization worker uncovered human remains, personal effects, and military equipment while searching for Japanese soldiers on the northern coastline of Saipan Island. The remains and equipment located suggested that the burial site belonged to an American soldier. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was notified of the findings. On March 24, 2013, two anthropologists from JPAC excavated the site.
In the identification of Carneal, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA sequence data, which matched Carneal’s maternal-line grand-nieces.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted for from the conflict.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.