June 21, 2010

Decades after they were missing

One man is passionate about doing what the government was unable to do - identifying MIAs from WWII.

Mass. researcher says he has ID'd 7 MIAs from WWII

A private researcher who has labored for years to identify the remains of U.S. service members declared missing in action during World War II says he has matched seven MIAs with the remains of unknowns and he expects to match as many as 19 more within a week.

Ted Darcy's list of five Marines and two sailors missing since the 1944 Battle of Saipan may not sound long. But his announcement Tuesday — the 66th anniversary of the battle's opening day — was remarkable, considering the military's average of confirming 72 such matches annually from all U.S. wars.

Darcy, a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant from Fall River, Mass., has helped bring home three WWII MIAs since 1991 from burial sites in the Philippines, Hawaii and Newport, R.I. Now he is accelerating his work using computerized databases filled with information he painstakingly entered from two sets of government documents: those containing physical descriptions of MIAs and those containing autopsies of slain service members buried as unknowns.

He hands over his findings to the military, which then tries to verify his work.

It sounds simple, but the identifications are the fruit of 20 years' labor by Darcy, who says he's determined to bring home thousands of missing WWII fighters.

Posted by Jill Fallon at June 21, 2010 10:15 AM | Permalink