Navy Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Harold Dick was aboard the battleship U.S.S. Colorado on the morning of July 24, 1944, near Tinian Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, when a concealed Japanese shore battery opened fire. There was a heavy explosion and the ship sustained extensive fragmentation damage. Four crewmen were declared missing in action and 39 were killed, including 22-year-old Dick.
The casualties were interred in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan until February 1948, when the American Graves Registration Service’s 9105th Technical Service Unit directed three battlefield cemeteries — including the 4th Marine Division Cemetery — to be disinterred.
While most identifications tentatively made following the attack were upheld, nine sets were reclassified as “unknown.” Of those, five were eventually identified and four were interred at the Manila American Memorial and Cemetery in the Philippines.
In 2017, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency personnel, in partnership with the American Battle Monuments Commission, exhumed Unknown X-39 from the Manila American Memorial and Cemetery and analyzed the remains.
Scientists used mitochondrial DNA, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence to identify Dick’s remains.
DPAA officials announced Friday that he is scheduled to be buried in his hometown of Tipton, Missouri, Oct. 10.
For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at 800.443.9298.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, or call 703.699.1420/1193.
Dick’s profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaa profile?id=a0jt0000000xfteeas.
(Editor’s note: Information for this article was provided by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.)