WWII soldier remains identified, to be buried in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified the remains of US Air Force Staff Sgt. Moses F. Tate, of Seneca, Kan., in July, and he will be laid to rest on Thursday at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield.
In the summer of 1943, Staff Sgt. Moses F. Tate was assigned to Operation Tidal Wave. He and a fleet of B-24 bombers would bomb the German oil refineries in an attempt to shorten the fuel supply and bring an end to the war. The low-level mission would require the planes to fly just 200-300 feet above the target. Because the enemy anticipated the attack, 310 airmen were killed.
Sgt. Tate was one of 80 men who would be unidentified until now.
Dr. Megan Ingvoldstad is the forensic anthropologist for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and Project lead for identifying all the remains from Operation Tidal Wave.
”I think its the best part of this job and the most satisfying and rewarding part being able to put a name to a person who has been missing for 70 years and return them to their family,” said Dr. Ingvoldstad. “That’s the best part.”
The DPAA is working to identify the remains of the 80 men who did not return home. Once a soldier is identified, workers place a rose seal next to their picture to indicate his remains are accounted for. So far, 37 remains have been identified and returned home to their families.
”All individuals have the right to be identified,” said Dr. Ingvoldstad. “Family members have the right to know what happened to their military service members. The closure is really important. And then I think it’s also really important for our current day military to know that we never forget anybody and we never leave anybody behind.”
DPAA began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with Operation TIDAL WAVE losses in 2017. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification. Sgt. Tate’s sister never gave up hope that he would be brought home one day and began recruiting family members to volunteer DNA to see if any unknown remains would be a match. She would not be alive to see it, but on July 12, the DPAA identified the remains, and Sgt. Tate would return home.
”I wish mom were there,” said Geneva Janovsky, Niece of Sgt. Tate. “That’s all she talked about was Uncle Moses.”
Janovsky received the call letting her know her uncle was found and began working with the Army to have the remains brought to Springfield for a military funeral. Geneva was born five years after her uncle’s death, but her family often spoke of Uncle Moses.
”The only memories we have is what our parents would tell us, and they’re all gone,” said Janovsky. “All of his brothers and sisters are gone.”
Staff Sgt. Tate was the tailman for a B-24 bomber. Of the ten crew members, only three survived. Tate is the first of his crew to be identified. The DPAA currently has more than 7,000 sets of remains in need of identification.
”If you’re missing family, get in touch with the Army, and they will start checking DNA and bring them home,” said Janovsky.
Services for Sgt. Tate will take place on Thursday. There will be a funeral service at 10 am at Faith Lutheran Church in Branson then graveside internment will follow at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery at noon.
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