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Indiana POW killed in WWII identified 80 years after his death

U.S. Army Pvt. David Whipple, 23, from Plymouth, Indiana, who died as a prisoner of war during World War II. He was finally accounted for on August 15, 2022. (Provided Photo/Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

WASHINGTON (WISH) — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, announced in a release Wednesday that a soldier from Plymouth, Indiana, who was taken and died as a prisoner of war in World War II, was accounted for in August.

Plymouth is in northern Indiana, two hours north of Indianapolis.

U.S. Army Pvt. David Whipple, 23, was a member of the 27th Materiel Squadron, 20th Air Base Group, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands in December 1941.

The fighting continued until the U.S. forces surrendered the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and Corregidor Island on the next month on May 6.

Many U.S. and Filipino soldiers were captured and taken to POW camps after the surrender.

Whipple was one of the thousands captured in Bataan, and was subjected to the 65-mile Bataan Death March before being held at the Cabanatuan POW camp.

According to the release, prison camp records say Whipple died on July 26, 1942, and was buried in a mass grave called Common Grave 225.

More than 2,500 other POWs perished at this camp during WWII.

After the war, the American Graves Registration Service exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery, and relocated the remains to a temporary mausoleum in Manila in the Philippines.

Researchers attempted to identify the remains beginning in 1947, but were only able to identify three sets of remains. The unidentified bodies were then buried at the Manila American Cemetery as unknowns.

In 2018, scientists had the remains of those from Cabanatuan moved to a DPAA laboratory in Hawaii. Researchers were able to identify Whipple through dental and anthropological analysis.

The DPAA says that Whipple will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery but has not scheduled a date.

Whipple is also memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery.