U.S. Army Private First Class Lawrence S. Gordon — killed in Normandy in 1944, then mistakenly buried as a German soldier — will soon be going home to his family.
But don’t thank the American military for this belated return. The Pentagon declined to act on his case, despite exhaustive research by civilian investigators that pointed to the location of his remains.
Instead, Gordon’s family and advocates used the same evidence to persuade French and German officials to exhume Gordon and identify him through DNA testing. That’s right: the relatives of this U.S. soldier, who fought against the Germans, are relying on Germany to bring him back home.
Gordon’s case is another example of breakdowns in the American system for finding and identifying tens of thousands of missing service members from past conflicts. More than 9,400 troops are buried as “unknowns” in American cemeteries around the world. Yet, as ProPublica and NPR recently reported, the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (J-PAC) rarely disinters any of those men to try to use DNA to identify them. On average, just 4 percent of such cases move forward.
Read the full, original story: French, Germans Return Fallen GI After Pentagon Gives Up