Another Two Return

| April 24, 2022

DPAA’s “Recently Accounted For” webpage and/or recent DPAA press releases indicate that the following formerly-missing US personnel have been accounted for.

From World War II

PFC Merl W. Holm, US Army, assigned to K Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, was lost in Papua New Guinea on 26 November 1942. His accounting was announced on 19 April 2022.

Cpl William R. Ragsdale, USMC, assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, was lost on Saipan on 28 June 1944. His accounting was announced on 20 April 2022.

From Korea


From Southeast Asia


Welcome back, elder brothers-in-arms. Our apologies that your return took so long.

Rest easy. You’re home now.

. . .

Over 72,000 US personnel remain unaccounted for from World War II; over 7,500 US personnel remain unaccounted for from the Korean War; and over 1,500 remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia (SEA). Additionally, 126 US personnel remain unaccounted for from the Cold War; 5 remain unaccounted for from the Gulf Wars; and 1 individual remains unaccounted for from Operation Eldorado Canyon.

Comparison of DNA from recovered remains against DNA from some (but not all) blood relatives can assist in making a positive ID for unidentified remains that have already been recovered. The same is true for remains which may be recovered in the future.

On their web site’s Contact Us page DPAA now has FAQs. The answer to one of those FAQs describes who can and cannot submit DNA samples useful in identifying recovered remains. The chart giving the answer can be viewed here. The text associated with the chart is short and is found in one of the FAQs.

If your family lost someone in one of these conflicts who has not yet been accounted for and you qualify to submit a DNA sample, please arrange to submit one. By doing that you just might help identify the remains of a US service member who’s been repatriated but not yet been identified – as well as a relative of yours, however distant. Or you may help to identify remains to be recovered in the future.

Everybody deserves a proper burial. That’s especially true for those who gave their all while serving this nation.

Category: No Longer Missing

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Green Thumb

Welcome home, men.

Rest well.

A Proud Infidel®™

Welcome Home, Fallen Warriors.

*Slow Salute*


Welcome home Brothers. Rest in peace now.


Thanks once again Hondo, for allowing us to honor our senior brothers.
And now, the rest of the story.
PFC Merl W. Holm:
In November 1942, Holm was assigned to the Company K, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, deployed in present day Papua New Guinea. As part of an attempt to neutralize the Japanese threat to Port Moresby, the Allied center of communications in the area, Holm’s unit attempted to flank the enemy defensive lines stretched across the Sanananda Track in northern Papua. Holm was reported as killed in action on Nov. 26. Holm was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.



A personal aside note.
I had an uncle who also served in that same battle with the 32nd.
He passed about five years ago at the ripe old age of 99 years.
He always said “the first 99 years are the hardest”.
The Red Arrow Division was mainly composed of men from Wisconsin & Michigan.
More recently, members also served in the Iraq war.
Here is a link to  Buna-Papua operation.


Welcome home.

RGR 4-78

Welcome Home.


Cpl William R. Ragsdale:
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, he  was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division which was part of the invasion force of the island of Saipan in a larger effort to capture the Mariana Islands from Japan.
Ragsdale was initially reported as wounded in action and evacuated from Saipan on June 28.
When he was unable to be found during the chaos surrounding the battle and its aftermath, his status was changed to missing in action and then later deceased.
★ World War II Victory Medal
★ Purple Heart
★ Combat Action Ribbon
★ American Campaign Medal
★ Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation
★ Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
★ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
★ Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal


An interesting “more to the story”.

Whatever happened to Bill Ragsdale?”This question, first voiced on 28 June 1944, is still being asked today.

Corporal William R. Ragsdale was a tall, thin Tennessean who served as a clerk with BLT 1-24 Headquarters. He had a mind for detail; in school, he favored mathematics and bookkeeping, and used his single semester at Vanderbilt University to develop his skills in mechanical drawing. In 1940, Ragsdale quit school in favor of hands-on learning as an apprentice locomotive mechanic for Louisville & Nashville Railroad. He learned to take apart and re-build steam engines, replace defective parts, and kept careful records of repairs. In January 1942, he married Mina Eloise Friedli; she gave him a gold ring inscribed “Bill from Eloise,” and it became one of his most treasured possessions.


Shortly after the wedding, Bill got a better-paying job as a fireman with L&N, and for six months he rode the rails between terminals in St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta and Memphis. In August, he quit the railroad and joined the Marine Corps.
Ragsdale quickly became a familiar face to the Marines of Able Company; he worked in the skipper’s office updating the muster roll – and the pay records. “Rags” was well-liked, not just because he handed out the money on payday, but for his genial nature. “He was a great guy,” said fellow clerk Corporal Robert JohnstonEventually, Ragsdale’s typing skills caught the eye of someone on battalion staff and he transferred to work with Headquarters Company. When his battalion shipped out for combat at Roi-Namur, Ragsdale helped the rear echelon move the battalion’s operations from Camp Pendleton to Camp Maui. Saipan was his first experience in battle.


One morning, Bob Johnston went to check in with Ragsdale and found his foxhole empty. Nobody seemed to know where he was. “It was the weirdest thing. We went looking for him, and he was gone,” Johnston said in 2015. “We figured he went off to fight the war by himself or something. For years at reunions, we’d get together and someone would ask ‘whatever happened to Bill Ragsdale?’ He just took off someplace and we never saw him again.”Johnston always hoped that “Rags” would turn up at a reunion to relive old times and solve the riddle.
As with PFC Robert G. Thompson, Ragsdale’s disappearance was a mystery. Official records conflict as to the date he vanished; muster rolls claim 22 June 1944, while casualty reports state 28 June. He was duly reported as “missing in action,” and carried as such until a “finding of death” was issued on 18 May 1945.


The official decision read, in part:
Corporal William Ronald Ragsdale, 433627, was originally reported wounded in action and evacuated from Saipan, Marianas Islands, on 28 June 1944. When a search of all medical facilities failed to locate him, he was changed to missing in action and subsequently to “declared dead” upon receipt of the following recommendation from Division Commander: “The possibility of [his] having been captured is so remote that this Headquarters recommends official determination of death.”
Memorial services were held back in Nashville, but Ragsdale’s body was never returned. Eloise Ragsdale tried to accept her loss, and eventually came to terms with Bill’s death. She began searching for his grave shortly before her death in 2007.
Unbeknownst to Bob Johnston or Eloise Ragsdale, an Army Graves Registration detail found the unidentifiable remains of a tall, thin man at an unspecified location on Saipan.


The body was brought to the 27th Division Cemetery and checked for identification, but none was present. On 6 July 1944, “Unknown X-6” was buried in Grave 441, with his only belongings wrapped in a Red Cross bag – a plain gold wedding band inscribed “Bill from Eloise.”


Welcome Home Warriors. We Salute your Service and will Pay Honors to your Sacrifice.

Thanks, Hondo. And another Thanks and BZ to our SKYJUMPER for bringing us “…the rest of the story.”


Welcome home men.
It is because of you we remain free.


Rest in peace, brothers.