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Manila American Cemetery
Grave A-12-195 where Bud Kelder
was buried as an Unknown

 

 

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Families of Seven Missing U.S. Servicemen File Suit Against U.S. Government

 

Link to complaint filed in U.S. District Court

 

.PDF file of this Press release

 

 

San Antonio, TX – May 26, 2017 - The families of seven soldiers missing from World War II have filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Antonio demanding that the U.S. Government return the remains of their missing family members.

Thousands of American Servicemen remain missing from the Battle of Bataan and the Bataan Death March Seventy-Five years ago. Some were killed by the enemy and some died of disease and malnutrition while prisoners in brutal camps. Their families never knew where or how they died and never received the closure that comes with burial of loved ones. Recently released documents show that the U.S. Government negligently failed to identify the remains of thousands of missing servicemen and buried them as Unknowns in the Manila American Cemetery to avoid responsibility.

Among the missing was 1LT Alexander R. "Sandy" Nininger who was awarded the first Medal of Honor of WWII. Five times Army Graves Registration recommended identification of his remains, and five times Washington disapproved because the incorrectly calculated height of the remains didn't match his known height.  The remains of Lt Nininger are buried in Grave number J-7-20. 

The remains of Colonel Loren P. Stewart, commander of the 51st Infantry Regiment, were not identified because investigators misspelled his name as STUART and couldn't find his dental records. The remains of COL Stewart are buried in Grave number N-15-19.

Brigadier General Guy O. Fort commanded the 81st Infantry Division until he was captured and executed by the enemy in retaliation for his guerrilla activities. His execution was witnessed by the Provincial Governor who was also a prisoner. After the war, Governor Cruz recovered the remains and presented them to the Army with a sworn statement that they were the general's remains. In this statement he said that when the enemy bayoneted the general, he heard him shout, "You may get me but you will never get the United States of America."  The remains of General Fort are buried in Grave number L-8-113.

Also joining the suit demanding the return of their loved ones are the families of PFC Lloyd Bruntmyer, Private Robert R. Morgan, PFC David Hansen, and Private Arthur H. "Bud" Kelder, all of whom died of disease and starvation in the infamous Cabanatuan POW Camp. Kelder was the subject of prior litigation in which the government agreed to return his remains to his family, but ultimately handed over only three bones. Investigation revealed that the Government's highly touted DNA identification laboratory has neither the capacity nor the capability of identifying more than a small handful of remains each year.

The seven families are represented by Benoit “Ben” Letendre of the firm of Cross Jenks Mercer & Maffei LLP in Baraboo, WI and Ron Sprague of the firm of Gendry & Sprague in San Antonio, TX.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
John Eakin - 210-695-2204 - bataanmissing@gmail.com

 

 

 

Last update:  May 26, 2017

Copyright © 2017 - John Eakin