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  #1  
Old 24 May 2011, 05:36 PM
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United States 170,000 US WWII dead secretly brought home from Europe

Comment: You're not going to believe this, however; it was in the Sunday Sacramento
Bee as a declassified item that was released to the wire networks since it
had been over 50 years since the "event" took place. This is not a rumor.
After WWII, the US secretly, with Great Brittan's knowledge and scorn,
brought home 170,000 Americans buried overseas in the European Theater.
President Truman wanted the bodies of the GI's to rest at home in the US.
One by one, the caskets in France, Belgium and Great Brittan were dug up
and loaded aboard trucks and taken to the US airbases and secretly brought
back to the US for reburial. It cost nearly $400,000 1945 thru 1947 US
Dollars for this effort. Great Brittan opposed the idea as they didn't
have the recourses after the War to do the same and it made them look like
their soldiers weren't worth as much as a US soldier.

Never the less, the 3 year effort, carried out in secret with the families
promise not to tell any one about the action. Most families thought that
just their soldier was being brought home and no one told anyone that all
the soldiers bodies were being brought back. Back in 1945, Top Secret,
meant a real secret that even the press could not publish. However, the
repercussions among the countries that couldn't do the same would have had
an enormous impact on morale and only Great Brittan and Winston Churchill
knew what was being loaded aboard all those trucks and aircraft. This
does not diminish the importance of the grave sites with the thousands and
thousand of white crossed lined up in row after row. It's still a tribute
to each soldier that a marker exist for his sacrifice of the highest
level.
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  #2  
Old 24 May 2011, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
The [American Battle Monuments] Commission administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil. Presently there are 124,909 U.S. war dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,921 of World War I, 93,238 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally 6,177 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City and Corozal American Cemeteries.
ABMC website

I don't know where the OP is getting the 170,000 figure, although it's close to the total WWI and WII figure given above.

Are they suggesting that the bodies were all moved, but that we've continued to maintain those cemeteries, and provides these services to families of the dead (some of whom would know their family member was buried in the US) for 60+ years? And how could they possibly keep the reburial of 170,000 bodies in various US cemeteries a secret?

There was a massive reburial program of Union soldiers after the Civil War, but those soldiers had been buried (or left) where they fell.
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Old 24 May 2011, 05:53 PM
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I was going to make many of the points that Lainie made, before I lost contact with the snopes website. The secret removal of thousands of bodies could not be done in secret. This bit made me especially suspicious:

Quote:
only Great Brittan and Winston Churchill knew what was being loaded aboard all those trucks and aircraft
Why would Great Brittan [sic] alone know about the removal of the bodies? Most would have been buried on continental Europe and so surely permission must have been obtained from the countries where they were buried.

In addition why would Winston Churchill have known about the removal? Before the end of the war he had been voted out of office.
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Old 24 May 2011, 05:59 PM
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$400,000 to dig up 170,000 bodies, truck them to seaports, ship them across the Atlantic, transport them hither and yon in the USA and inter them? Even in 40's dollars, that's a heck of an efficient program!
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Old 24 May 2011, 06:09 PM
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Good point about the cost, ATNM. The reburial program after the Civil War probably cost at least that much in 1860s dollars.

I wonder if this was inspired by the apocryphal account that Dean Rusk (or LBJ, in some versions), on hearing of DeGaulle's order that all US soldiers be removed from France, said "Does that include the ones buried there?"
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  #6  
Old 24 May 2011, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
One by one, the caskets in France, Belgium and Great Brittan were dug up and loaded aboard trucks and taken to the US airbases and secretly brought
back to the US for reburial.
I'm not sure they would have transported 170,000 caskets by air -- not in the years between 1945 and 1947, anyway. The vast majority would have arrived by ship, which was still the primary means of getting people (alive or dead) and goods across the pond at that time.

~Psihala
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Old 25 May 2011, 12:25 AM
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The original commenter got one thing correct, and right out of the box too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: You're not going to believe this........
That would be a correct assumption. I'm not.
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  #8  
Old 25 May 2011, 06:56 AM
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Another thing: The OP mentions soldiers buried in "France, Belgium and Great Brittan" - what about those buried in Germany? If you would want to take the soldiers home, wouldn't you firstly take those buried in the enemy's country?
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Old 25 May 2011, 01:41 PM
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Further, what about those in the Italian campaign (and North Africa for that matter)? Did they get left behind? If so, President Truman got some 'splainin to do.

Ta ra 'wan,

Ieuan "pizza resistance" ab Arthur
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Old 25 May 2011, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
In addition why would Winston Churchill have known about the removal? Before the end of the war he had been voted out of office.
At least they apparently remembered that FDR was dead by then.
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Old 25 May 2011, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ieuan ab Arthur View Post
Further, what about those in the Italian campaign (and North Africa for that matter)?
And the Pacific. Don't think we don't have graves there. I done seen 'um.
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  #12  
Old 25 May 2011, 02:18 PM
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North African American Cemetery and Memorial

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial

My mother's brother was a pilot and was lost over the Mediterranean. His body was never recovered, but he's listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome Cemetery.
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Old 25 May 2011, 06:42 PM
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I wonder if part of this got started from US military dead being disinterred from various hasty battlefield burial sites and being reburied in the sites mentioned by Lanie with some also possibly being shipped home for reburial.
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Old 30 May 2011, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Back in 1945, Top Secret, meant a real secret that even the press could not publish.
?

I'm not certain such a restriction exists or existed.
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  #15  
Old 31 May 2011, 09:46 AM
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If this information was released after 50 years, should it not have come to light in 1997?
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  #16  
Old 23 June 2011, 06:05 PM
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It's funny that this is the very first thread that I read. :-)

I found out approximately 5 years ago that I had a great-uncle that was killed in WWII and buried in Polermo (?), Italy. My grand parents are both deceased, but at my grand father's funeral, some lady was asking about the history of our family and who some people were. I had no idea that she is a distant cousin, I had never met her before. My brother, who was raised by my grandparents, said that my grandpa had a brother who was killed in WWII. I thought that my brother was drinking or something, I had never heard mention of any other siblings to my grandpa. As it turns out, my brother was correct, we did have another great-uncle, and he was buried in Italy. My brother said that nobody spoke of my uncle Bascum, except that my grandmother had a book with some pictures of him from the summer before he left for the war, and when my brother asked what happened to him, she simply said "we can't talk about him".

I'm guessing that the family simply didn't want to dredge up the past, but I wish that we had some more information about him. I did however take a trip to Kentucky about 3 years ago and while visiting my grandparents' graves, I was surprised when the cemetary director asked if I knew that I had another relative in the cemetary. She said that my uncle Bascum was buried in the old part of the cemetary and she gave me directions to his grave. I was dumbfounded to discover that he was in fact buried in Kentucky.

I shot a picture of his grave marker and did some research through his unit archives and found that he WAS buried in Italy, but after the war was over, he was disinterred and brought back to Kentucky, in 1947. He still has a grave marker at the cemetary in Italy, but he rests in Kentucky. I tried to get some more information on who paid to bring him home or if it was normal for the Government to do it if the family requested it be done, and got no where. I'm going to Kentucky next week, and trying to find some more information is on my "to do" list.
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