Marine Missing From WWII Identified (Winkley)

Release No: 13-038 Aug. 21, 2013 PRINT | E-MAIL

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.

U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Manley F. Winkley, 20, of Indianapolis, will be buried Aug. 24, in Madison, Ind. In Nov. 1943 Winkley as a member of the Marine Corps 2nd Division, landed on Tarawa atoll, now part of the Republic of Kiribati, against stiff Japanese resistance. Over several days of intense fighting approximately 1,000 Marines were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. As a result of these attacks Winkley was reported killed in action on Nov. 20, 1943.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries. During World War II, U.S. Navy Combat Engineers, “SeaBees,” significantly restructure the landscape to convert the island for use by the U.S. service members. In 1946 when U.S. Army Graves Registration Service personnel attempted to locate all of the battlefield interments, many of the burials could not be located.

In 2012 Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) teams conducted excavation operations in the Republic of Kiribati and discovered human remains and equipment that appeared to be those of American servicemen from World War II.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and radiographs, which matched Winkley’s records.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. There are still more than 73,000 servicemen whose remains were never recovered.

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.