The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, lost during World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Marine Pvt. Robert J. McConachie, 18, of Detroit, will be buried Nov. 3, in Augusta, Mich., In June 1945, McConachie was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and was deployed to Okinawa, Japan. As his unit took part in the battle with enemy forces on Kunishi Ridge, it sustained heavy losses. McConachie was reported killed in action June 14, 1945.
On Nov. 23, 1987, the Army’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI) received remains from the U.S. Air Force Mortuary at Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Japan. The remains were recovered from Kunishi Ridge where McConachie was lost, and were believed to be those of an American service member from World War II. Efforts to identify the remains proved unsuccessful at that time.
Due to technological advances in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing, the case was re-examined in 2010 by Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Affairs analysts to identify possible individuals who were unaccounted for from this battle and to facilitate family reference sample collection.
In the identification of McConachie, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used forensic identification tools including dental comparisons which matched his records and mtDNA which matched his brother.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.