Kenova soldier’s remains expected to be buried in Va.
CHARLESTON — The recent discovery of a local World War II soldier’s remains has brought a sense of closure to his remaining relatives in the area.
On Nov. 27, the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency announced they had identified the remains of Cpl. Joseph Akers, of Kenova. The 23-yearold Akers was killed in November 1944 during a battle near Grosshau, Germany, while serving with the Army’s 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.
The agency says a U.S. investigation team found remains inside the remnants of an American tank destroyer near Grosshau. The remains were declared unidentifiable and were interred at a U.S. military cemetery in France, then sent to the agency last year. Scientists used DNA analysis and other means to identify them.
Betty Aldrich, family spokesperson, said the remains will soon be brought stateside and buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Aldrich is waiting on confirmation from U.S. Army officials to determine the date of burial. mine the date of burial.
“It’ll be a great thing for him to be buried in Arlington, knowing that he’s back here and not in a foreign country,” Akers’ nephew, Michael Adkins, said. “Arlington is a prestigious place to be buried. I just wish his siblings were still here to witness it.”
Though all of Akers’ brothers and sisters have died, Adkins said that with the discovery comes a tremendous sense of closure for the surviving relatives.
“All these years Papaw and his brother and my mom had all been told that there wasn’t anything left of him after he was blown up in the tank. We saved articles that were sent to us after he was killed that said there were no remains,” Adkins said. “When they told us, I was pretty surprised when they said they had found remains at all. I hope they are telling the truth.”
Adkins, 69, is the only living veteran on Akers’ side of the family. He served in the Vietnam War. He was given several personal belongings of Akers’, including some pictures, military letters, his Bronze Star and Purple Heart.