‘X-15’ is unknown no more

Picturesque The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial serves as the final resting place of 17,000 US and allied servicemen who died during World War 2. AP

The unknown American soldier “X-15” killed during World War 2 (WW2) is coming home to the United States after being buried for decades at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The remains of “X-15” had been identified to belong to a former journalist, Richard Murphy, who enlisted in the US Marines and disappeared during the 15 January 1944 amphibious assault on the Pacific island of Saipan.

“He carried his M-1 rifle and his typewriter,” said Gerard Murphy, with whom Richard’s DNA was positively matched through the efforts of WW2 independent researcher Ted Darcy.

“All my life, we heard about uncle Richard. Having his remains brought home feels really amazing – very spiritual,” the younger Murphy said.

Richard Murphy’s remains, which took Darcy three years to disinter for dental records and DNA testing in Hawaii, will arrive next month to the US for burial alongside his mother in Silver Spring, Maryland.

A retired Marines gunnery sergeants, Darcy was credited for identifying 15 unknown soldiers.
“I’ve got 48 more on my desk right now,” Darcy said, adding the families of those identified “are very, very grateful” although “some don’t want to be bothered.”

In the case of “X-15,” Darcy compared dental records from Murphy’s enlistment with those of the body interred in the Philippines, supplied for a fee by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Thanks to Darcy’s efforts, the world now gets to know the unknown soldier “X-15” to be a native of Washington, D.C. who graduated from Georgetown University and worked for several years for the defunct Washington Evening Star.

As for the Manila American Cemetery, within the boundaries of the former Fort William McKinley, it hosts a total of 17,206 graves – said to be the largest number of any cemetery for US personnel killed during World War 2.

Sprawling at 62 hectares on a plateau, the cemetery, which also holds war dead from the Philippines and other allied nations, is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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