This Monday, WWII soldier Earl Joseph Keating finally returned home to the city of New Orleans after decades of being missed by his family and country. The soldier’s nephew, Michael Keating Jr. of Lafayette was able to complete the journey of bringing Pvt. Keating back when his body was found in the Pacific island of New Guinea. There, Keating had once occupied the Higgins Roadblock with fellow soldiers till December 5, 1942, when the Japanese attacked them. Although the troop resisted altogether – the result of the fight consisted of severe losses that included the life of Pvt. Keating as well as his friend, Pvt. John H. Klopp, 25.
Fast forward seven decades later, and a New Guinea villager venturing outside for a hunt managed to come across their remains, which also included dog tags, helmets and other such articles. In order to properly identify Keating, the US Military required to DNA from his family members. This caused Michael Keating Jr. to call upon extended family members, such as his cousin Sue duTreil and her brother. Ultimately, the finding of the soldiers marked the beginning of the long awaited closure needed for Keating and his family.
Unfortunately, there are many other families across the globe within the same situation that Keating’s family was in for so long. According the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s website, there are 83,000 missing personnel from past US conflicts. World War II holds the largest amount of those MIA – with a number that exceeds over 73,000. That Pvt. Keating returned home isn’t to be missed, and it won’t be, considering that even the World War II Museum will be taking part in his upcoming funeral.
Pvt. Keating will be buried both in a cemetery in New Orleans and the Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral service in New Orleans will be held May 28, where Keating Jr. plans to read a letter written by his father to the soldier who passed too soon to read it. After the service, the WWII Museum will drive his remains by the museum, where a flag will be lowered to half-staff. In this way, the life of Pvt. Earl Joseph Keating will be honored in an unforgettable way