Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics (SORCC)
MIA PFC Dale W. Ross Comes Home to Rest
On April 9, 1942 Dale W. Ross enlisted in the U. S. Army as a private. After recruit training in Monterey, California he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lighting", 35th Infantry Regiment "Cacti", Company E at Scholfield Barrack on Oahu. In late 1942 deployed to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and participated in the Battle of Mount Austen.
January 1943, Private Dale Warren Ross was a member of Company E, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, serving in the Pacific Theater. He was reported missing in action on Jan. 14, 1943, following a patrol near Hill 27, Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. He was not seen after an engagement with a small Japanese patrol when shots were heard in the vicinity in which he was last seen. He was officially listed as missing in action (MIA).
On February 9, 1949 a team from American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) Search and Recovery Expedition #2 (S&R Expedition #2) visited Honiara and sought the help of U.K. Commissioner of Labor who furnished the team with a guide, who took them to Mount Austen where they engaged Solomon Islander. The team searched "Mt. Austen down to the Matanikau River, but no trace of Private Ross could be found in the area on the western slope, therefore AGRS recommended his case be closed on May 4, 1949.
In March 2017, while walking along a jungle trail from a waterfall back to Barana, eight-year-old William "Willie" Bessi Devis came across a pair of dog tags and a King Kamehameha pressed penny on a chain and bone fragments on the western side of Hill 27 and brought the items to his father, Henry Devis. Together, they returned to the site and his father collected the human bone fragments into a plastic bag for safe keeping.
A picture of the dog tags and charm was placed on Facebook in an effort to locate the relatives and reported to Pacific Wrecks, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing home those MIA. Pacific Wrecks located the relatives of Dale W. Ross.
July 2017, Dale W. Ross (nephew and namesake) reported the discovery to Ross’s U. S. Army casualty officer. Previously, Ross nephew voluntarily provided a DNA sample to the Department of Defense (DoD) in hopes his uncle might one day be located.
Beginning of August 2017, nephew Dale W. Ross and Peggy Freitas his niece and representatives from Pacific Wrecks traveled to Guadalcanal and visited Barana village where Willie Bessi Davis and Henry Davis presented the family members with the pair of dog tags marked "Dale W. Ross" and human remains they located nearby. Later that day, the relatives turned the items over to an investigation team from Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on Guadalcanal. Both the dog tags and remains were accepted as part of a unilateral turnover.
On August 7, 2017 the remains and dog tags were part of a repatriation ceremony and flown aboard USCG C-130H from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to Hickam AFB where they were accessioned by the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) at Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Officially, Major Jessie Romero stated to the Associated Press (AP) "Until a complete and thorough analysis of the remains is done by our lab, we are unable to comment on the specific case associated to the turnover".
On April 16, 2019 the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the identification of Dale W. Ross. To identify Ross’ remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Y-chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Ross was officially declared deceased on January 14, 1943. Ross earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Ross remains will be buried alongside his mother and three brothers on September 7, 2019 at 11:00 am at Memory Gardens, 1395 Arnold Lane, Medford Oregon with full military honors. Willie, now eleven years-old, will come to America for the first time with a chaperone to attend the service.
Dale Warren Ross was born on June 30, 1920 in North Dakota to parents William H. Ross and Mabel Viola Ross (née Warren). He was the third of four children: Charles Irvin Ross born in 1915, Clifford Elmer Ross "Cliff" born 1918, Dale W. Ross born 1920 and Calvin A. Ross born 1923.During World War II, all four Ross brothers served in the military. Charles and Calvin joined the U. S. Navy. Clifford and Dale joined the U. S. Army.