WWII soldier identified more than 70 years later returns home

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -

Thursday night, a veteran that died in the line of duty in World War II finally came home after 74 years.

William David Ball Jr. was a marine wounded in the Battle of Tarawa. On the way to an aid station, he was killed on a Japanese island. Ball was declared dead nearly a year after his injuries on November 21, 1944. His wounds so severe, he was not able to be identified. He was buried at the national cemetery in Honolulu.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 that through DNA analysis, Ball was identified as William David Ball Jr. His family made the decision to bring him back to Bakersfield.

Thursday night, he was accompanied by the Los Angeles and Bakersfield Patriot Riders to back to Bakersfield.

He will be laid for his final rest with full military honors at Bakersfield National Cemetary on Monday.

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