Military Honor

WWII Marine Wildcat pilot’s remains buried in Michigan

The remains of a World War II pilot were buried this weekend in Michigan, 76 years after his plane went down during a battle in the Solomon Islands.

Elwood Bailey was buried Saturday next to his parents at Chapel Cemetery in Parma, Michigan. He was a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserves when he was reported missing in action while fighting Japanese forces over Guadalcanal in 1942.

Bailey was with Marine Fighter Squadron 223. He was flying an F4F-4 Wildcat when he was reporting missing in action after being shot down, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

In 1948 his remains were declared to be nonrecoverable.

But in 2015 a resident of the Solomon Islands turned over human remains and other evidence, and analysis confirmed Bailey’s identity. He was 22 years old when he died.

Wayne Tompkins says his uncle's dog tags were identified, as well as the number on his aircraft.

The 1 p.m. service was open to the public.

Currently there are 72,810 service members still unaccounted for from World War II, with about 26,000 deemed as possibly recoverable, DPAA says.

According to DPAA, “Bailey’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.”

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