The remains of an Emporia Marine return home

Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -” These men were lined up right next to each other and it was a pretty big deal,” said Jordan Windish.

Glenn White was one of many world war two marines that died in action in the Gilbert Islands in 1943.

His remains were never found, until just two years ago.

History Flights, a non-profit organization, went on a mission to Tarawa to find more than 30 marines and sailors who never came home.

“Everyone was just like “Oh my god we found them” we have been looking for them for over ten years and the government has been looking for them for decades and when it hit that we found them and we told the government that we are pretty sure it’s these men the phoned were going crazy,” said Windish.

The family of White never thought this day would come.

“It was truly almost unbelievable that something you pray for and dream about and hopes that it will happen but don’t really believe it will and then fact that it has is just overwhelming but we are so grateful,” said White’s great-niece, Lynnette Stair.

History Flights’ Jordan Windish says there was one key giveaway when DNA testing the bodies.

“One interesting thing is they look at your clavicle, the collarbone and it’s a new technique and they look at the tuberculosis x-rays of these men and in World War Two they had the x-rays and some of them do have their TB test done so you can see those, and then the bones we recover we can retest those and then we can see the points and curves and that can work to help with identification,” said Windish.

Stair says she is thankful for the team locating and bringing him where he belongs.

Stair says she hopes all families still waiting for their loved ones to return home, have hope.

“We know the hole in your family and the emptiness you feel, but we also know that you have a pride deep down in you and reach for that and let that give you comfort and that our family wishes your outcome is the same as ours and for many, it won’t be, but our family appreciates the service of your family member, we are in a nation that has gone through so much to bring back and they did 78 years later, and if they could they would and remember we are in a great nation,” she said.

“We have their pictures up on our wall so when we are going through who recovered these men and bringing their bones to the lab we are walking past their last photo taken of them before they got deployed out to the pacific and were like “Hey we are bringing you home,” said Windish.

Windish says 32 out of the 33 bodies discovered have been identified.

White is now buried right by his parents in Emporia.

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