Fallen WWII soldier to be buried in Lake City | News, Sports, Jobs

LAKE CITY — The remains of a Lake City man killed in 1942 while fighting in New Guinea during World War II have been positively identified, according to a Department of Defense agency.

Army circuit. Merl W. Holm will be buried in his hometown on July 9, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Holm was 22 when he was killed in action on November 26, 1942.

He was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, which was part of the 32nd Infantry Division.

This unit was sent to New Guinea, a large island north of Australia. The Japanese had invaded the island and their presence posed a threat to Australia.

Holm’s unit attempted to flank the Japanese defensive lines spanning the Sanananda Trail in northern New Guinea, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. In this fight, Holm was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

The medal was presented to his father, Andrew Holm, by Brig. General PB Clemens at a ceremony in Lake City on October 13, 1943.

His body was not found immediately after the war. However, unidentified remains of American soldiers were recovered and interred at the Manilia American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines. The name of Holm is inscribed on the walls of the missing of this cemetery.

In 1995, the Department of Defense began investigating cases of fallen soldiers in New Guinea. Eventually, this search led to the exhumation of the remains from the cemetery in the Philippines. These remains were sent to a laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

There, scientists used dental and anthropological evidence as well as mitochondrial DNA analysis to identify Holm’s remains.

He was born April 5, 1920, according to an obituary from the Lampe and Powers Funeral Home in Lake City.

Holm grew up on a farm north of Lake City. He enlisted in the army on December 10, 1941 and assumed duty on December 31, 1941. He received basic training at Camp Roberts, California.

A visit for Pfc. Merl W. Holm will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 9 at Woodlawn Christian Church, 200 N. Woodlawn Ave., in Lake City. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. at the church.

Interment will follow at Lake City Cemetery.

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