Remains of Army soldier missing from WWII identified and returned for burial at Arlington

Posted at 12:26 PM, Sep 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-03 12:26:57-04

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Wednesday that they have identified the remains of a U.S. Army soldier missing since World War II.  The remains will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

According to the DoD, Pfc. Bernard Gavrin, 29,  was reported missing in action on July 7, 1944.

Gavrin was part of the 105th Infantry Regiment (IR), 27th Infantry Division (ID) ordered to occupy Saipan in June 1944 as part of an Allied strategic goal to secure the Mariana Islands.

After a month of intense fighting, enemy forces conduced a suicide assault (banzai attack). During the attacks, elements of the 105th IR sustained heavy losses, with more than 900 soldiers killed or injured.

A year later, on July 8, 1945, with no new information on Gavrin or 21 other service members from the 105th IR, investigators issued a presumptive finding of death.

In November 1948, the American Graves Registration Services reviewed the circumstances of Gavrin’s loss and concluded that his remains were unrecoverable.

In September 2011, a private archaeological company excavated land near Achugao Village, Saipan and uncovered human remains from the July 7, 1944 battle. Those remains were identified as Army Pvt. William Yawney.

In September 2013, a Japanese organization looking for remains of Japanese soldiers from the battle of Saipan, set up operations in the same area. During their excavation, they recovered human remains and personal effects from American servicemen from an unmarked burial a few meters from the 2011 site. The remains were handed over to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).

Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory were able to identify Gavrin and Army Pfc. Richard L. Bean, 24, of Manassas.

Gavrin will be buried on September 12th in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Bean will be buried in September in Quantico National Cemetery.