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Remains of San Diego WWII Marine who died in Pearl Harbor identified

WWII Marine's remains identified
Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 09:19:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Thanks to new DNA technology, the remains of a San Diego Marine killed at Pearl Harbor have recently been identified.

A 48-star flag and a Purple Heart awarded to Marine Private First Class John Middleswart. Constant reminders to his family of the man they lost at 19-years-old.

“Keeping the memory alive and I was always,” his family said.

His family knew he died while serving on the Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

They even have his last letter, which was dated just days before November 2, 1941.

“They were anticipating the war," another family member said.

The Navy was never able to identify his remains and he was eventually buried with hundreds of other so-called unknowns at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

In 2015, the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency began trying to identify the remains.

“We all 3 gave DNA and that's how they were eventually able to identify John was through DNA analysis," said James Brown, Middleswart's nephew.

Last month the call came in that Middleswart had been accounted for. He was the 300th servicemember identified from the Oklahoma project.

"It's nice to know that they never gave up," Edward Brown, another nephew of Middleswart said.

John’s sister, Lauretta, died several years ago never knowing the outcome, but she was able to travel to Hawaii and see the memorial.

Now the family is preparing to bury Middleswart in San Diego at Fort Rosecrans. His remains are scheduled to be buried in June with full military honors.