North Dakota WWII soldier’s remains identified after 78 years

Graves are seen at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
Graves are seen at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.(Source: Pool/CNN)
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 8:54 AM CDT
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TOLLEY, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A North Dakota family finally has some closure 78 years after a solider never returned home from WWII.

The Department of Defense says it just identified the remains of then 27-year-old Robert L. Alexander of Tolley, ND who was killed in the Pacific Theater.

The military says Alexander was a part of 105th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division fighting the Japanese in Saipan in July of 1944. Officials say Alexander along with many other service members were killed when a Japanese general ordered a banzai, or suicide mission attack, against the Americans.

Following the end of WWII, an agency was responsible for recovering missing American servicemembers, but they could never identify a body as Alexander. He was then declared non-recoverable in September 1949.

New technology has since aided the military in identifying remains, and in January 2019, they disinterred a group of soldiers previously identified as non-recoverable.

In June of 2022, authorities were able to match one of the remains to Alexander. Military scientists used dental analysis along with DNA and other circumstantial evidence to bring closure to the Alexander family.

Alexander was buried in the Philippines, but will now be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, near the nation’s capitol.

For funeral information, you can contact the Army Casualty office at 800-892-2490.

Tolley is a small town northwest of Minot in Renville County.