PFC Mulligan USMC Comes Home

The research staff at the WFI Research Group was overjoyed when the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announcement that PFC Herman W. Mulligan USMCR had been identified. PFC Herman W. Mulligan had gone missing while serving with Company L 3rd Battalion 22nd Marines 6th Marine Division on Okinawa 30 May 1945 following the explosion of a Japanese ammunition dump. His unidentified body was placed in section B, row 22, grave 542 of the 6th Marine Division Cemetery and numbered X-35. When all was said and done the cemetery contains 1,696 bodies from the battle. Further identification efforts lowered the final unknown count from 84 to 23. Four were finally buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, while the other 17 were sent to the American Battle Monuments Commission Cemetery, Fort McKinley, Manila, Philippine Islands.

Following the war, his remains were first moved to Saipan and then to Manila in February 1949, aboard the USS LST-715. Further attempts at identification proved fruitless and the remains were finally interred in American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery at Fort McKinley, Manila, Philippine Islands on 16 January 1950, section H, row 10, grave 134. This could have been the end of the story as it is for most of the unknowns buried around the world, but his cousin, James Paterson, just wouldn’t let it go.

James and a small group had spent years trying to unravel the mystery. In June of 2016, he finally contacted Ted Darcy at the WFI Research Group ( now located in Pensacola, Florida.

“I initially told him that we couldn’t help because we didn’t have the Individual Deceased Personnel File (293 File) on Herman. He told me he did and he forwarded it to me. Thirty minutes later he had his answer,” said Darcy. The statistics on 8072 X-35 matched his long-missing cousin. “Of course, this was only the preliminary phase. Final identification has to be done at the Central Identification Lab. But at least he had a starting place where none had existed before.”

“James called me a short time later to thank me. I asked him not to mention my name to the DPAA until the identification was confirmed. The reason was, we had 151 other cases already at the agency and nothing seemed to be being done with them. Mulligan was case 152. Now some 21 months later he is the only one that has been identified from that group,” said Darcy.

“I’ve always considered the work on the MIAs a marathon rather than a sprint. When you have to deal with the DPAA or its predecessors, it is more like breeding elephants than anything else. One act takes two years to produce any results,” he commented.

“As of this morning, there are still 74,071 missing from World War Two. 2,960 of those are Marines. Mulligan is only one case so we have a long way to go before the job is finished. Semper Fi,” Darcy said in closing.

Media Contact Info
Joyce A. Lunny

Source: WFI Research Group


Categories: Military, History

Tags: aircraft, burials, dpaa, Marines, mia, missing, unknown, wrecks, WW2