POMEROY, Ohio — The remains of a soldier killed during World War II will be interred at the White Family Cemetery, June 12, in Meigs County, Ohio.
The funeral for Army Pfc. James Wilmer White will be held at Ewing-Schwarzel Funeral Home, Pomeroy, Ohio, preceding the interment.
The public is invited to take part in the services by lining the procession route along East Main Street from Court Street toward Reed and Baur Agency. Approximately 400 flags will be passed out to those lining the route.
Funeral services will take place at noon at Ewing-Schwarzel Funeral Home in Pomeroy. A public viewing will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the funeral home.
According to the schedule for the services, at 12:30 p.m. the family and attendees will conclude the service inside the funeral home. At 12:40 p.m., Bagpiper Lt. Robert Ronan will play “Going Home” as the flag draped casket is placed in the funeral home’s horse drawn hearse. The release of doves will follow.
The procession will leave the funeral home turning onto Second Avenue and then on to Court Street. The procession will pause in front of the Meigs County Courthouse where local high school musicians will perform under the direction of Toney Dingess.
The procession, then led by drummers and local veterans who will present the colors will march onto East Main Street.
Local firefighters will be set up with ladder trucks near Reed and Baur Agency where the flag draped casket will be transferred from the horse drawn hearse to the traditional motorized hearse with local veterans serving as the pallbearers.
The procession, led by Sheriff Keith Wood, will then proceed through Chester to the White Family Cemetery on Bashan Road. Upon arrival at the cemetery, veterans in attendance will form a tunnel for the casket to be carried through.
At the graveside the Ohio National Guard will continue with the services.
White’s remains are scheduled to arrive in Meigs County late Tuesday after being flown to Columbus. Sheriff Wood and Ewing-Schwarzel Funeral Home, with the assistance of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Police Department, and the Freedom Riders motorcycle group will escort White back to Meigs County following a small service at the airport. The flight is scheduled to arrive around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday evening in Columbus.
According to a news release from the U.S. Army, a native of Chester, Ohio, White was assigned to Company E, 2rd Battalion, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), also known as Merrill’s Marauders. After taking the airfield in Myitkyina, Burma, from the Japanese on May 17, 1944, White’s battalion was tasked with holding the airfield. A month and a half later, he was reported killed in action on July 2. Following the battle, his body could not be recovered.
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.
In July 2018, the remains of service members from that battle were transferred to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
White was accounted for by the DPAA on Jan. 29, 2020 after his remains were identified using dental, anthropological and mitochondrial DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.
His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Philippines, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
A portion of the information provided by the United States Army.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.