- Associated Press - Saturday, June 18, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - After more than seven decades, the remains of a World War II veteran killed in action will be returned to his family in Iowa.

Palmer Haraldson’s family long ago gave up hope of being able to recover his remains, the Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1rspUOg ).

Haraldson, a private in the Marines, was killed at age 31 in combat on Nov. 22, 1943, on the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific. He was buried there with 1,000 other Marines and sailors, and his body was declared non-recoverable in February 1949.

But now, his remains have been located and will be returned to Iowa for a burial Wednesday in Fort Dodge with full military honors.

A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, Haraldson was born in 1912 and moved to Fort Dodge with his family as a young boy. He married in 1937 and moved to Los Angeles with his wife before enlisting in the Marines in 1943.

He niece, Carolyn Redding, said her mother was Haraldson’s youngest sister. She was heartbroken for years over the inability to recover her brother’s remains, said Redding, 70.

The family would frequently visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Every time we went there, sometimes every year or sometimes every other year, we would search among these thousands of names,” Redding said. “When we found his, my mom would put her hand on his name and would just break down crying every time.”

Last year, a nonprofit group called History Flight Inc. discovered the burial site and notified the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency that it had recovered the remains of 35 U.S. Marines.

Redding said the bodies were flown to Hawaii, and in December, the agency said their scientists identified the bodies using dental records, anthropological analysis, circumstantial and material evidence.

Redding, along with several generations of his nieces, nephews and cousins, will be attending the memorial service and burial. Haraldson’s remains will be flown into Des Moines on Tuesday and escorted to Fort Dodge by a patriot guard.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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