World War II veteran returns home to Meigs County after eight decades

Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 12:54 AM EDT
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After an 18,000 mile journey, Private First Class James Wilmer White returned home to Meigs County on June 12.

Members of the community crowded the streets and waved their American flags in celebration of PFC White’s homecoming. The funeral procession was led in a horse-drawn herse down Main Street.

PFC White left home almost eight decades ago to fight for his country. He was born in Roane County, West Virginia, but grew up in Meigs County before enlisting.

On July 2, 1944, PFC White was killed in action and unidentifiable outside Burma, currently known today as Myanmar. He was fighting with The Merrills Marauders.

His body had been buried in Hawaii along with other unidentified soldiers; however, last year, PFC White was positively identified through forensic evidence, after comparing DNA from a close living relative.

“It’s amazing,” said PFC White’s niece Sue Woode. “A dream come true.”

Woode said she can’t thank the community enough for their support and for what they have done to welcome her uncle home.

“I just think it’s wonderful,” Woode said. “They have just wrapped their loving arms around him. That’s Meigs County.”

PFC White will be buried near his parents in Long Bottom, Ohio off of Bashan Road. His surviving family owns the land the cemetery sits on. The family’s cemetery is home to other relatives who have also passed on.

In PFC White’s honor, the Mayor of Pomeroy declared June 12, 2021, as James Wilmer White Day.

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