The Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation has initiated a project to analyze the remains of over 200 Unknowns that are associated with those lost during the Battle of Okinawa, known as the “Last Battle” that occurred during the waning months of World War II. Over 1,000 service members are unaccounted for from this incident. An current estimate has been made of over 350 missing American servicemen who could have possibly been buried as an “Unknown” in eight military cemeteries on the Island of Okinawa.
The first step of the Battle of Okinawa “Unknown” Project began with an effort to obtain copies of the “Unknown X Files” of those who were buried after the battle and whose identity could not be determined. The X-Files are the most important part of the project so that Foundation researchers can build the first phase of a comprehensive database of potential matches to the “Unknowns” from those that are still listed as “Missing in Action.” Foundation investigators can then determine which units that fought in the battle are likely to be associated with the individual “Unknowns.”
A comprehensive list of MIAs has been developed who could possibly be matched to one of the individual Okinawa cemeteries where the “Unknowns” were buried. Foundation researchers have traveled to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland to obtain copies of the cemetery plot maps to help in the location and correlation of specific graves in each cemetery which originally held unidentified casualties from the battle.
The next step is to obtain the “Official Military Personnel File” (OMPF) service files the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to build a biometric database of each MIA for comparison to the biometrics recorded by forensic anthropologists for the “Unknowns” in the original X Files. This comparison is done by the Foundation’s computerized “Random Incident Statistical Correlation” (RISC) System, which has an over 90% success rate in predicting “Possible, Probable, and Most Likely Matches” to “Unknowns.”
Unfortunately, NPRC charges the Foundation $70 for each OMPF requested so it will take time to raise the funds necessary to obtain the crucial records. Once Foundation has the records, the analysis by the RISC System can be performed very, very quickly and the results provided to family members upon request in a matter of days.
Fortunately, the Foundation has worked on many projects like this one in the past, such as the Battle of Tarawa, Pearl Harbor, and the USS Indianapolis Project, that was recently completed resulting in the reclassification by the US Navy of 13 sailors who had been officially MIA since 1945 to “Buried at Sea” and the resultant closure to their families.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines fought heroically for months against a determined and skillful enemy on Okinawa. The Foundation’s mission is to restore their names and identifications to a burial plot that now only reads “Unknown.”
If you are a family member of a lost hero from the Battle of Okinawa, please use the “Leave A Reply” form below to contact us. Include your Name, Email Address, and the name of your missing family member.
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