CHESTER — The military medals and uniform belonging to World War II soldier Army PFC James Wilmer White are now on display at the Chester Courthouse.
The family of PFC White — who was killed in action in World War II — donated the items to be displayed at the Chester Courthouse. The display was opened last week with the Meigs County Commissioners holding their weekly meeting there to acknowledge the donation and display.
Among the medals on display are the Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Efficiency, Honor, Fidelity Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic Pacific Medal; and World War II Medal. White’s uniform, as well as display boards about the unit and battle which White served in are included in the display at the Chester Courthouse.
Dan Will of the Chester Shade Historical Association, speaking during the commissioner meeting, said the CSHA is “honored and privileged” to accept the items for display in a permanent place.
As previously reported, on July 2, 1944, Pfc. James Wilmer White was killed in action and unidentifiable outside Myitkyina, Burma (now known as Myanmar). He was fighting with the famed 5307thComposite Unit Provisional — The Merrill’s Marauders. His Army Infantry Unit was conferred the Congressional Gold Medal by both Houses of Congress this past fall.
He was temporarily buried in U.S. Military Cemeteries in Burma and India. In 1949, one set of remains, designated Unknown X-52 Kalaikunda, was still unable to be identified and was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In July 2018, the remains of service members from that battle were transferred to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
White was accounted for by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on Jan. 29, 2020 after his remains were identified using dental, anthropological and mitochondrial DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.
His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Philippines, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
White was remembered with funeral services in early June 2021, bringing his remains home to Meigs County for burial in the White Family Cemetery.
Now, his military memorabilia will be permanently displayed at the Chester Courthouse Museum.
The display can be viewed by museum visitors during regular hours of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A portion of the information provided by the United States military and Ewing-Schwarzel Funeral Home.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.