August 10, 2006

WWII Marine's remains brought home for burial

The remains of Sgt. John H. Branic (USMC) have finally been ID'd and returned home after being discovered during a construction excavation on Guadalcanal.

Stories like these are beautiful -- for the simple fact that family and loved ones are finally offered a chance at closure, and that our fallen countryman can rest in peace in the land he died for.

[Note: Link temporarily broken (?) - some areas of Defenselink or not functioning properly, at least on my end, right now.]

Missing WWII Marine is Identified

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a U.S. Marine missing in action from World War II has been identified and is being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Sgt. John H. Branic, U.S. Marine Corps, of Madera, Pa. He is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

Branic was a platoon leader for L Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division on Aug. 19, 1942, when a Japanese force overran his defensive position on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. During the attack, Branic was killed, but the Marines of L Company counterattacked and succeeded in driving the Japanese back. The location of Branic's remains was not reported to headquarters, as the L Company executive officer was also killed.

In February 1992, the U.S. Embassy, Solomon Islands, reported to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) that remains believed to be those of an American had been recovered at a construction site on Guadalcanal. JPAC took possession of those remains the following month, and excavated the site where they found additional remains. In the same general area, they found World War II-era ammunition, but no additional remains.

In 2004, an American researcher with the First Marine Division association reported to JPAC that a Solomon Islander had possession of a ring with the inscription "JHB" on the inside. The ring was found at the initial burial site.

JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains. Laboratory analysis of dental remains also confirmed the identification.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.

Welcome home, Sergeant.

Posted by Kyer at August 10, 2006 12:13 PM | TrackBack