Navy Reserve Seaman 2nd Class Deward W. Duncan Jr.

Navy Reserve Seaman 2nd Class Deward W. Duncan Jr.

A sailor from Georgia who was killed in World War II has been positively identified, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Thursday.

Navy Reserve Seaman 2nd Class Deward W. Duncan Jr., 19, of Monroe was accounted for last May, the agency said. Scientists from DPAA used dental records as well as other analysis and material evidence to make the identification.

Duncan was killed Jan. 12, 1944, when a Japanese air raid on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, dropped a bomb near his tent. He was reportedly buried the same day in Cemetery #33.

After a military review board declared Duncan's remains unrecoverable in 1949, DPAA was notified in 2017 of a burial site on Betio Island. Remains of what they believed to be missing American service members who had been buried in Cemetery #33 were then recovered and turned over to DPAA in 2018.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 72,741 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II.

Duncan’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others killed or lost in WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.