World War II soldier’s remains to be returned to Meigs County

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Private First Class James “Wilmer” White was just 21-years-old when he was reportedly killed in action while fighting the Japanese in what the world knew as Burma in 1944.

Today, we know the area he was fighting in as Myanmar.

Officials say White’s body wasn’t identified for decades after his death, but thanks to modern technology and DNA testing, his family has been found near the Mid-Ohio Valley.

His closest living relative, 93-year-old Marie Johnson, a niece, was called to meet with officials in Marietta Wednesday afternoon to determine what should be done with his remains.

Johnson, who was close to White in her youth, decided he should be brought back to Meigs County to be buried with his parents on the family farm.

He will be buried with military honors and his family will be given his numerous awards.

Though the family could have chosen to have White buried at Arlington National Cemetery or in Dayton National Cemetery, Johnson said in an interview that White “was a country boy,” and would want to be buried with his parents.

WTAP is in touch with White’s family and plans to talk with them in more detail about who White was and about his unit.

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