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A family will be reunited with their loved one after 82 years

FLORENCE, Colo. (KRDO)- Later this month a family will be reunited with one of their loved ones after 82 years.

It was all made possible through DNA analysis that matched a WWII soldier who died as a prisoner of war to a family in Florence.

The family of US Army Technician Fifth Grade Clifford Strickland say they're thrilled to finally bring their loved one home. Strickland was just 23-years-old when he enlisted in the army.

After joining the military he was deployed to the Philippines, during his time there Japanese forces invaded the island turning Strickland and thousands more into prisoners of war. Unfortunately in July 1942 at the age of 25 he died in captivity in the Philippines.

Strickland's family said they never knew if they'd ever be able to properly honor him for the sacrifice he made.

"Personally and I think most of my family had kind of really given up that he would never be identified and would forever remain one of those missing in action, soldiers, fallen heroes that we would never find." said Clark Baldwin, Strickland's nephew.

Which was why they were shocked last December when the Department of Defense told them, their uncle's remains had been positively identified overseas.

"Comparing it with DNA of samples from three of my cousins and they were able to confirm the match with my uncle's remains," said Baldwin.

Now, Strickland's body will be flown from Hawaii out to Colorado. His great nephew Daniel Strickland who currently serves in the U.S. Air National Guard will then escort him back home.

On June 29, Strickland will be laid to rest near his parents at Union Highland Cemetery in Florence.

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Karla Sosa

Karla Sosa is a bilingual multimedia journalist for KRDO13. Learn more about her here.


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