BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A World War II soldier from Montana who died on an island in the Pacific Ocean 75 years ago has been buried in his home state after his remains were identified last year.
A memorial and funeral with full military honors was held Saturday in Bozeman for Army Pvt. William A. Boegli, who was raised in Sedan, Montana.
He was killed while leading a group of litter bearers to evacuate wounded soldiers in the 1944 invasion of Angaur Island.
The Bozeman Chronicle reports Boegli was initially buried without identification on the island, and later moved to a cemetery at Fort McKinley in the Philippines. His remains were sent to Hawaii last year and identified using DNA comparisons with relatives.
During Saturday’s funeral, Boegli was awarded medals including a Purple Heart, Silver Star and WWII Victory Medal.
Boegli’s nephew, Don McHenry, was one of the relatives to take a DNA test and said the results were emotional and surprising.
“To find somebody that you didn’t know anything about for 70 years, it was really interesting to find,” he said.
Chaplain Daniel Thompson closed the funeral by acknowledging Boegli’s sacrifice.
“Thank God for those that are willing, when needed, to make the sacrifice,” he said. “William was part of a long line of servicemen to put on the uniform and give up his life.”