The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on Sept. 1 that U.S. Army Pvt. Stephen C. Mason, 21, of Jersey City, New Jersey, killed during World War II, has been recently identified.
Mason, assigned to Headquarters Co., 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd (“All American”) Airborne Division, was reported missing in action during the famed “Bridge too far” that was Operation Market Garden after his patrol failed to return from a mission “into a heavily-fortified enemy position and by aggressive action gained specific information of the enemy disposition and strength” near Beek, Netherlands on 3 November 1944. His body was unable to be recovered. Mason posthumously received the Silver Star for his actions.
Declared “non-recoverable” in January 1951, PVT Mason was later memorialized on the “Walls of the Missing” at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.
Fast forward to 2017, and DPAA set to analyze a set of remains known as “X-3323 Neuville,” which had been recovered near Beek in 1946 and interred in the UK. This July, after extensive efforts, it was determined that X-3323 Neuville was Mason.
He will be buried in North Arlington, New Jersey, and a rosette placed next to his name at Margraten.
Welcome home, PVT Mason.
As appropriate with the 70th anniversary of the Korean War this month, the DOD reports:
In the largest repatriation of South Korean soldiers’ remains from the Korean War, 147 such remains were returned to South Korea following an honor ceremony last week at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and [South Korea’s] Ministry of National Defense Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification have jointly worked on the remains, as being ROK soldiers who had often died alongside U.S. troops.
MAKRI and DPAA scientists have conducted joint forensic reviews and validated 147 remains as being of South Korean origin.
In a mutual exchange, six Americans identified on South Korean battlefields were transferred to U.S. custody at Osan.
Honor Guard from UN countries participates in a dignified transfer as part of a repatriation ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, June 26, 2020. The United Nations Command in Korea remains committed to enforcing the 1953 UN Armistice Agreement and overseeing activities such as this repatriation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah Sudolcan)
A recovery team aboard U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command’s USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) completed an excavation, on Feb. 25, of multiple aircraft losses shot down in 1944 near Ngerekebesang Island, Republic of Palau.
Although remains potentially associated with the losses were recovered by the team, the identity of those remains will not be released until a complete and thorough analysis can confirm positive identification and the service casualty office conducts next of kin notification.
The project was headed by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which deployed an Underwater Recovery Team (URT) comprised of U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force service members and Department of Defense civilians that were embarked aboard the USNS Salvor.
“It’s very labor intensive work and they’ve had a large amount of bottom time making this operation successful,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Emge, 7th Fleet Salvage Officer. “The Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 1-6 divers for this job have been pulling more than 12-hour-days for the past two months. The URT spent weeks excavating the area using a variety of archeological tools and meticulously inspecting the bottom sediment in their search and recovery of the missing personnel from World War II.”