WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced this week that Army Pfc. James W. White, 21, of Chester, Ohio, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Jan. 29, 2020.
According to a news release from the DPAA, in the spring and summer of 1944, White, an infantryman, was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), also known as Merrill’s Marauders. After taking the airfield in Myitkyina, Burma, from the Japanese on May 17, White’s battalion was tasked with holding the airfield and taking part in the siege of Myitkyina. White was reported to have been killed during fighting on July 2.
The remains of servicemen killed during the battle were buried in at least eight different temporary cemeteries and numerous isolated burial locations. Eventually, all known burials were concentrated into the U.S. Military Cemetery at Myitkyina, including the remains of those who were not identified. In January and February 1946, all of the remains at the U.S. Military Cemetery were disinterred and transferred to the U.S. Military Cemetery at Kalaikunda, India. The exhumation of the U.S. Military Cemetery at Kalaikunda was conducted in September and October 1947.
One set of remains, designated Unknown X-52 Kalaikunda, was unable to be identified and was subsequently buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, in March 1949.
On July 16, 2018, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-52 Kalaikunda from the Punchbowl and transferred the remains to the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
To identify White’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
White’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Philippines, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
White will be buried June 12, 2021, in Long Bottom, Ohio.
For family and funeral information, call the Army Casualty Office at 800-892-2490.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
White’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000001cQyACEA0.