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Remains of Colorado WWII soldier identified after more than 80 years

Posted at 11:27 AM, Mar 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-03 13:27:20-05

DENVER — A Colorado Word War II soldier is coming home after more than 80 years of unanswered questions. The remains of a Fowler, Colorado soldier have been identified, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced this week.

U.S. Army Technician Fifth Grade Clifford H. Strickland, 25, was accounted for December 20, DPAA said. He was captured by the Japanese military and died as a prisoner of war during World War II.

According to prison camp and other historical records, Strickland died July 29, 1942, and was buried along with other deceased prisoners in Common Grave 215 in the Philippine Islands.

Strickland was a member of Company C, 803rd Engineer Battalion (Aviation), U.S. Army, when he and thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were captured and interned at POW camps in the summer of 1942.

They were subjected to the 65-mile Bataan Death March and then held at the Cabanatuan POW camp. More than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the war.

Efforts to identify those buried in the common grave began in 1947.

Five sets of remains from Common Grave 215 were soon identified, but the remaining seven were declared unidentifiable, including those of Strickland, and buried at the Manila American Cemetery Memorial as unknowns, according to the Department of Defense.

In 2018, Strickland’s remains were unearthed and sent to a lab for analysis where scientists used dental records, anthropological analysis and mitochondrial DNA to identify the Colorado soldier.

Strickland will be buried in Florence on June 29, 2024.

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