Skip to main content

WWII soldier's remains will finally be buried this weekend

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A World War II soldier's remains are coming home to Minnesota.

Army Pvt. John P. Sersha, a 20-year-old from Leoneth, will be buried with full military honors in Eveleth over Memorial Day weekend – nearly 72 years after he went missing, according to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Sersha was assigned to Company F, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment as part of Operation Market Garden. He was one of three "Bazooka Men" sent out to assault the Germans who controlled Kiekberg Woods in the Netherlands on Sept. 27, 1944.

But he and the two other "Bazooka Men" didn't return from battle, and several soldiers said Sersha had been killed – but his body wasn't found.

On April 12, 1948, the American Graves Registration Command recovered two sets of remains from an isolated grave in the Kiekberg Woods. One of the remains was identified, but the other – believed to be Sersha, but officials couldn't confirm it – was buried at the United States Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.

Then last December, at the request of Sersha's family, the unidentified remains were exhumed. Officials used DNA, which matched Sersha's nephew and brother, along with dental and anthropological analysis, laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence to identify Sersha.

Sersha's nephew Dick Lohry spoke with the Fay Observer last month about what led to the family's recent push to find his remains. In 2005, Lohry was given a photo of his uncle's name listed on a memorial at a cemetery in Europe, and that renewed his efforts to identify his uncle.

More about Sersha

Sersha was born on April 24, 1924, and lived in Leoneth, which is an area of Eveleth in northeastern Minnesota, according to his obituary.

Before joining the U.S. Army in 1943, he worked for the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad Company. He trained in Texas before he was sent to Maryland, where he was assigned to the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. From there, he went to Europe for the war.

A visitation is scheduled for Friday from 4-7 p.m. at the Bauman-Cron Funeral Home in Virginia, Minnesota, with a funeral service set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Interment with full military honors will be held at the Eveleth Cemetery following the ceremony.

Roughly 16 million Americans served in World War II – 400,000 were killed, including 7,800 Minnesotans, according to the Minnesota Historical Society and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Next Up

flash flooding

Weekend rain totals pushed 6+ inches in Minnesota, Iowa; 10 in Illinois

Big-time rain totals across southern Minnesota, southeast South Dakota, northern Iowa and northern Illinois.

Airport traveler flying pixabay

Man who had meth, guns in checked luggage at MSP Airport gets 10 years

Kevin Alan Aguilar-Moreno, 21, attempted to board a Delta flight to Phoenix in October of last year.

Screen Shot 2022-08-08 at 7.13.33 AM

Family identifies man killed by police in Otsego

The 21-year-old was reportedly experiencing 'mental health challenges' and allegedly had a knife when deputies opened fire.

88 S 11th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota - April 2022 (1)

Gun found on WCCO-TV rooftop after homicide in Minneapolis

It's the 56th death reported as a homicide in Minneapolis this year.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.

ATV

Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

Related

Remains of MN Marine killed in WWII will finally be buried

Sgt. James Joseph Hubert was killed in 1943.

Remains of Minn. fighter pilot killed in Vietnam to be buried at Ft. Snelling

The remains of Navy Lt. William E. Swanson, a 27-year-old pilot from Minnesota whose plane went down in 1965 during the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors Monday at Ft. Snelling.

St. Cloud soldier killed in Korea more than 60 years ago finally buried at home

The remains of St. Cloud soldier who went missing in Korea in 1950 and was declared dead a year later have finally been buried in his hometown. The St. Cloud Times reports that the remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Francis John “Fuzzy” Reimer were identified with DNA samples submitted by his mother and sister 11 years ago.

WWII veteran, Twin Cities business owner finally receives H.S. diploma

After 70 years, a World War II veteran from Fargo, N.D., can call finally call himself a high school graduate. Teddy Wong, who was drafted into the Army during his junior year of high school, was given an honorary diploma Saturday in Fargo. Wong is the owner of the longest family-owned business in Roseville.