The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) recently announced that the remains of Army Pfc. William T. Carneal, 24, of Paducah who has been missing since World War II, have been identified and have been returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
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, Pfc. 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 Pfc. 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 Pfc. Carneal’s maternal-line grand-nieces.
Funeral services for Pfc. Carneal will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Lindsey Funeral Home in Paducah, Ky. Interment will follow at 2 p.m. at Palestine Cemetery in Paducah. Gov. Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute.
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.