RIP, Soldier: WWII POW Who Died in 1942 Finally Accounted For

Nick Kangadis | April 19, 2024
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A little over 81 years after his death, a World War II soldier is finally being recognized. Sure, this may not be a Purple Heart or Silver Star, but a man who most likely endured a fair amount of torture can finally be at peace.

U.S. Army Private 1st Class Harry Jerele, who served with the 192nd Tank Battalion, has officially been accounted for, according to Fox 32 - Chicago.

The Berkeley, Illinois native was 26-years-old at the time of his capture by Japanese forces, and records “indicate that Jerele passed away on Dec. 28, 1942.”

According to the report:

Following intense combat, the Bataan peninsula surrendered on April 9, 1942, and Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942.

Jerele was among thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members who were captured and interned at POW camps. He was reported captured during the surrender of U.S. forces in Bataan to the Japanese and endured the 65-mile Bataan Death March before being held at the Cabanatuan POW camp. More than 2,500 POWs lost their lives in this camp during the war, the DPAA [Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency] said.

It took decades to identify Jerele because the technology didn’t exist yet to make a verified call on his remains. It wasn’t until 2020 that they began the process of identification.

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There’s no word on any surviving family, but “Pfc. Jerele will be laid to rest in Elwood, Illinois on Oct. 6, 2024.”

RIP, sir.

For local coverage of the story, watch below:


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