The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pvt. Horace H. Middleton, 20, of Northumberland, Pennsylvania, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Oct. 31, 2019.
In the spring and summer of 1944, Middleton, an infantryman, was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), also known as Merrill’s Marauders. After taking the airfield in Myitkyina, Burma, from the Japanese on May 17, Middleton’s battalion was tasked with holding the airfield and taking part in the siege of Myitkyina. Middleton was reported to have been killed during fighting on July 12.
The remains of servicemen killed during the battle were buried in at least eight different temporary cemeteries and numerous isolated burial locations. Eventually, all known burials were concentrated into the U.S. Military Cemetery at Myitkyina, including the remains of those who were not identified. In January and February 1946, all of the remains at the U.S. Military Cemetery were disinterred and transferred to the U.S. Military Cemetery at Kalaikunda, India. The exhumation of the U.S. Military Cemetery at Kalaikunda was conducted in September and October 1947.
One set of remains, designated Unknown X-63 Kalaikunda, was unable to be identified and was subsequently buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, in March 1949.
On Sept. 17, 2018, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-63 Kalaikunda from the Punchbowl and accessioned the remains into the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
To identify Middleton’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Middleton’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Philippines, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this recovery.
Middleton will be buried April 18, 2020, in Milton, Pennsylvania.