WWII Moline Marine gets burial with full military honors

Marine Corps

A WWII Marine from Moline, Illinois whose remains were found 50 years after he went missing will be honored at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Second Lt. Dwight D. Ekstam and six other Marines were aboard a PBJ-1 aircraft when it failed to return from a night training mission over the island of Espiritu Santo on April 22, 1944.  They were never found and the next year, the crew was officially presumed deceased. 

A group of private citizens discovered the aircraft wreckage in 1994.  The crash site was in extremely rugged terrain at 2,600 feet above sea level.  Recovery teams spent more than ten years excavating the site and recovering human remains along with military equipment and aircraft parts.

DNA analysis helped match the Marines to their family members for positive identification. 

The Department of Defense announced the remains of all seven of the servicemen will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on October 4, 2012.  Individual burials for six of the Marines, including Ekstam, were held previously in 2012.  The seventh crewmember, and a single casket representing the crew, are to be interred at the October 4 ceremony.

More information is available online about the Department of Defense work to account for missing Americans  at this link:  http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.