- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

AUGUSTA, Mich. (AP) - An 18-year-old Marine private from Detroit who was killed in Okinawa, Japan, during World War II will be buried Monday at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan.

Robert McConachie was reported killed in action in June 14, 1945, during heavy fighting on Kunishi Ridge. His remains were identified seven decades later DNA testing.

McConachie’s remains arrived at the Army’s Central Identification Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii in 1987, according to the Department of Defense’s Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office. The office was not able to immediately identify the remains, but that changed with advances in DNA technology.

“The case was re-examined in 2010 by … analysts to identify possible individuals who were unaccounted for from this battle and to facilitate family reference sample collection,” the office said.

Using dental records and DNA samples, the office was able to make a genetic connection between the remains and McConachie’s brother, the office said.

On Friday, the remains were returned to Michigan’s Gerald Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids.

On hand to accompany the remains was Col. Andy McConachie of Kalamazoo, son of Robert McConachie’s brother William.

“To be asked to do it by the Marine Corps for my uncle is something that I will treasure and remember for the rest of my life,” the 50-year-old colonel told WOOD-TV.

Robert McConachie was 17 when he joined the Marines and needed a waiver from his father to enlist.

“Growing up I heard the stories of Robert, and we had some mementos,” his uncle said. Among them was a declaration of his death, signed by President Harry Truman.

The Marine’s brother, an Army veteran, died in 1998 and also is buried at Fort Custer cemetery in Augusta.

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Online:

Missing service members: http://dtic.mil/dpmo

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