More than 70 decades later, an unknown soldier comes home

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 70 years after he died during the 1944 U.S. assault on Saipan, Richard Murphy is coming home.

The body of the former journalist and U.S. Marine spent decades in a grave for an unknown soldier in the Philippines. But the efforts of a volunteer researcher prompted the military to exhume the body for testing in Hawaii.

Murphy’s remains are expected to be brought to the Washington area in late November to be buried alongside his mother and other relatives in a family plot in Silver Spring, Maryland.

It’s a small victory in the ongoing effort to identify the nearly 9,000 remaining unknown soldiers from World War II.

Murphy’s nephew Gerard Murphy describes his uncle’s fate as “a mystery in our family for basically my entire life.”

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