Remains of Beloit man killed in WWII to return home Thursday

Army Sgt. Robert W. McCarville (Source: Dept. of Defense)
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BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) -- After 77 years, a Beloit family will have closure after the remains of Army Sgt. Robert McCarville returns home on Thursday.

McCarville was killed in action on December 5, 1942, while attacking enemy positions near Cape Endaiadere, during the months-long Battle of Buna-Gona. The fighting was so intense, his unit was not able to recover the 24-year-old's body at the time.

Nearly two weeks after his death, his platoon leader says McCarville was buried in a temporary grave before being moved to a small cemetery on the beach at the cape. It was subsequently moved several times before finally being identified through dental and anthropological records as well as DNA analysis.

Earlier this year, Defense Dept.'s POW/MIA Accounting Agency successfully identified McCarville's remains and his body is set to arrive in Wisconsin on Thursday.

Although the family is requesting a private visitation and burial on Saturday, they would appreciate people to stand along the procession route from Milwaukee to Beloit Thursday night.

The procession will depart Milwaukee's Mitchell Field and head to I-94/41 North to I-43 South to Cranston Road in Beloit. From there, the procession will head to Daley Murphy Wisch Funeral Home located at 2355 Cranston Road. They are expected to arrive in Beloit around 10:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers ordered flags throughout the state fly at half staff on Saturday from sunrise to sunset that day as a mark of respect for him.

Earlier in the week, Evers also ordered flags lowered through Sunday to pay tribute to Brian Serdynski, the Union Grove firefighter who died after suffering a heart attack while on an emergency call.

The Defense Dept. notes more than 400,000 Americans died while fighting in WWII. Currently, more than 72,000 of them are still unaccounted for.