2 Teen US Army Soldiers to Be Laid to Rest Almost 80 Years After Serving During WWII
Raymond C. Blanton, from Richmond, Virginia, served with the 9th Infantry Division. John J. Sitarz left Weirton, West Virginia, for an assignment with the 28th Infantry Division.
Before newspapers declared "victory" and crowds celebrated in the streets, young people left their homes and risked their lives to bring peace to the world during World War II. Army Staff Sergeant Raymond Blanton and Army Private First Class John Sitarz, both 19, were two of those young.
And it was in Germany where they both lost their lives, less than one year before the fighting was over. Because of ongoing fighting, neither of their remains could be recovered and identified from the battlefield.
Eventually, their unidentified remains were interred at Ardenne American Cemetery, which was the center of identifying remains of Americans lost in Europe during WWII. It’s located about 65 miles from Brussels, Belgium.
After 77 years of being considered anonymous heroes, scientists from the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency used dental and anthropological data, and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System analyzed DNA to give names to the remains. And now these soldiers can go home.
Staff Sergeant Raymond Blanton will be buried in his hometown, and Private First Class John Sitarz will rest amongst his military family at Arlington National Cemetery.
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