Homeward bound

(Above) The  processional carrying the remains of Army Pvt. Donald E. Brown were transported beneath a large American flag displayed at the Clear Lake Fire Department on the way to Thompson, Iowa for burial.-Reporter photos by Chris Barragy.

Repatriated remains of WWII soldier returned for burial

Casket bearers from the National Guard ceremoniously carried a casket containing Army Pvt. Donald E. Brown’s remains into Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel in Clear Lake on Thursday.

For more than 70 years, the remains of Army Pvt. Donald E. Brown were buried as an Unknown at an American Military Cemetery in France.  Thanks to the meticulous work of the POW/MIA Accounting Agency and DNA analysis, Brown’s remains have now come home to Iowa.     

Brown, 24, originally from Thompson, Iowa, was buried with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard at the Thompson Cemetery in Thompson, Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 6.  Prior to burial, the veterans’ remains were received at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel in Clear Lake.  Brown’s niece, Joyce, and her husband Dale Sorensen, reside in Clear Lake.   

“It was a pretty powerful day,” said Joyce.  “My only regret is that my mother, his sister, died before his remains were identified.  I know it would have meant a lot to her for her brother to have returned to Iowa.”

Brown entered the Army on April 4, 1942 and trained at Camp Roberts, California and in Texas before returning to Iowa for a furlough in 1943.  He left for overseas duty in March of 1944 where he served with Company A, 745th Tank Battalion, which fought in support of the 1st Infantry Division in Europe during World War II.

Brown was killed in action on July 28, 1944 when his M-4 Sherman tank was destroyed by enemy fire near Cambernon, France.  Unfortunately, Brown’s remains could not be recovered at the time of his death.  Following the end of hostilities, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) began searching for the remains of U.S. service members who were killed in battle.

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