Remains of World War II Soldier Returned Home

October 06, 2018 11:36 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The remains of a World War II soldier have been returned to Thompson, Iowa for burial, giving the family of Donald E. Brown closure after more than 70 years.

Don was an avid hunter, horse rider and a great friend.


Alison Conrad says he was also a wonderful brother to her dad.

"I know they were close growing up. As a young child I remember my dad telling me how Don had died and I regretted never having the opportunity to get to know him," said Alison.

Don went overseas in March of 1944 where he fought in support of the 1st infantry division in Europe during World War II.

He was killed in action on July 28th, 1944 when his tank was destroyed by enemy fire in France.

His remains were buried as an unknown at an American military cemetery in France.

In 2012, Don’s other niece Joyce Sorensen was contacted about the possibility of identifying his remains.

"I had to be willing to submit DNA--.this was in 2012--I submitted my DNA about a year after that. Finally, in 2018 I was notified that our DNA was a match," said Joyce.

When Alison hear the news…

"I cried. And that surprised me actually because I had never met him other than the stories that were passed on to me," said Alison.

Saturday, his remains finally came home.

"I had the option, of course, to just identify him and leave him in France, but I thought it would be nice to bring him here because his parents are here, and his brother is here," said Joyce.

He was buried with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard.

Family members and community members came out to honor his legacy.

Jim Lentz brought his troop of scouts to line the procession route.

"I'm a 29-year retired military veteran. I couldn't turn down the opportunity to honor one of my fallen brothers," said Jim.

With the final closure of her uncle’s story, Alison couldn't help but think about her own family.  

"Having two sons in uniform was a very moving experience for me to think that the country we live and the army we serve goes to such drastic effort to find remains of soldiers," said Alison. 


Talia Milavetz

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