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Unknown X-9352 Will Finally Rest Beside His Twin

Brothers reunited 74 years after WWII deaths at Normandy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2018 8:23 AM CDT
This undated photo, provided by family member Susan Lawrence on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, shows twin brothers Julius Pieper, left, and Ludwig Pieper in their US Navy uniforms.   (Susan Lawrence via AP)
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(Newser) – For decades, he was known only as Unknown X-9352 at a World War II American cemetery in Belgium where he was interred. On Tuesday, the now-identified soldier will be reunited with his twin brother at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France, 74 years after their deaths on June 19, 1944, reports the AP. Julius Heinrich Otto "Henry" Pieper and Ludwig Julius Wilhelm "Louie" Pieper—two 19-year-olds from Esmond, South Dakota—were both radio operators on the same unwieldy flat-bottom boat making the Channel crossing from Falmouth, England, to Utah Beach 13 days after the June 6 D-Day landings. The LST-523 mission was to deliver supplies at the Normandy beachhead and remove the wounded. It never got there. The vessel struck an underwater mine and sank off the coast.

While Louie's body was soon found, identified, and laid to rest, the remains of Julius were only recovered in 1961 in the vessel's radio room by French salvage divers. Julius' remains might have stayed among those of 13 other troops from the doomed LST-523 still resting unidentified at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. But in 2017, a US agency that tracks missing combatants identified him, and the Pieper family asked that Louie's grave in Normandy be relocated to make room for his twin at his side. They will be the 45th pair of brothers at the cemetery but the only set of twins among the more than 9,380 graves, according to the American Battle Monuments Commission. The last time the US buried a soldier who died in World War II was in 2005, at Ardennes.

(Read more World War II stories.)

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