WWII Soldier Coming Home, No Thanks to Pentagon

German, France investigate remains after US balks at process: ProPublica

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 21, 2014 3:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – A US Army private killed in World War II is finally coming home, but only because the nation he fought againstGermanystepped up when the nation he fought for—America—didn't want to pursue the matter, reports ProPublica. Lawrence Gordon was killed in Normandy in August 1944 and mistakenly buried in a cemetery in France for German troops. Civilian investigators began looking into his case a few years ago and unearthed strong evidence where Gordon had been buried. But the Pentagon agency in charge of POWs and MIAs balked at disintering the body given the "monumental" amount of research that would be necessary for definitive proof.

Gordon's family then turned to Germany and France, who said, sure, no problem. DNA tests of the remains showed a match for one of Gordon's living nephews. “Why is that we had enough evidence to convince the French and the Germans but not the Americans?” says one of the civilian sleuths. “Why is the burden of proof in America so much higher? It’s ludicrous.” The case, writes Megan McCloskey of ProPublica, "is another example of breakdowns in the American system for finding and identifying tens of thousands of missing service members from past conflicts." The remains of Gordon—he had Canadian citizenship, but his parents were American, and he chose to enlist in the US Army—are expected to be returned home in June. Click for the full story.

This 2011 file photo shows the U.S military cemetery in Colleville sur Mer, western France.   (AP Photo/Vincent Michel)
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