The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a Marine missing
in action from World War II has been identified and is being returned to his family for burial with full
He is Sergeant John H. Branic, U.S. Marine Corps, of Madera, Pa. He is to be buried at
Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Branic was a platoon leader for L Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine
Division on Aug. 19, 1942 when a Japanese force overran his defensive position on Guadalcanal,
Solomon Islands. During the attack, Branic was killed, but the Marines of L Company counterattacked
and succeeded in driving the Japanese back. The location of Branic’s remains was not reported to
headquarters, as the L Company Executive Officer was also killed.
In February 1992, the U.S. Embassy, Solomon Islands, reported to the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC) that remains believed to be those of an American had been recovered at
a construction site on Guadalcanal. JPAC took possession of those remains the following month, and
excavated the site where they found additional remains. In the same general area, they found World
War II-era ammunition, but no additional remains.
In 2004, an American researcher with the First Marine Division association reported to JPAC
that a Solomon Islander had possession of a ring with the inscription “JHB” on the inside. The ring
was found at the initial burial site.
JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used
mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains. Laboratory analysis of
dental remains also confirmed the identification.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.