Remains of WWII POW from Massachusetts accounted for

Dec 1, 2022, 10:20 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2022, 12:40 pm

BOSTON (AP) — An American service member who survived the notorious Bataan Death March during World War II but later died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp has finally been accounted for, military officials announced Friday.

The remains of Army Air Forces Pvt. Joseph E. Lescaut, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, were identified in August using mitochondrial DNA analysis as well as dental and anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.

Lescaut, a member of the 16th Bombardment Squadron, 27th Bombardment Group, was reported captured when U.S. forces on the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the agency said.

Thousands of captured U.S. and Filipino service members subjected to a brutal 65-mile (105-kilometer) forced march and many were held at the Cabanatuan POW camp, where more than 2,500 POWs perished.

According to prison camp and other records, Lescaut died July 26, 1942, and was buried with other prisoners in Common Grave 225 of the Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery.

Those buried there were exhumed after the war and moved to a temporary U.S. military mausoleum near Manila. An attempt was made to identify the remains in 1947, but only three were identified and the rest were declared unidentifiable and buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

The remains associated with Common Grave 225 were disinterred in March 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.

Lescaut will now be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.

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