Wait over for one family, others still wait

Army Pvt. 1st Class Robert Alexander

Last month the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced a Tolley man who was killed during World War II was accounted for on June 21.

Army Pvt. 1st Class Robert Alexander, who died at age 27, is the most recent military member from North Dakota to be accounted for by the Washington, D.C.-based agency.

Family members of many military members have waited for years for any word about their loved one who did not return home.

Friday, Sept. 16, is National POW/MIA Day. The commemoration day is set aside to honor the commitment and sacrifices made by this nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action, as well as their families. The day was established by a presidential proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Jason Benson, of West Fargo, recently sent a message to The Minot Daily News in regard to his relative, Pvt. 1st Class Robert Alexander, being accounted for after several decades. Alexander was a member of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.

Benson said, “On behalf of PFC Robert Alexander’s nephews, Douglas (Doug) Benson of Fargo, ND, and Alexander (Al) Benson of Nevada City, California, we are extremely happy to hear that Robert Alexander’s remains have been identified and that his remains will soon be returned to a final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery.”

Doug Benson and Al Benson grew up near Robert Alexander’s hometown of Tolley, according to Jason Benson.

Jason Benson went on to say, “Over the years Doug had submitted DNA samples to help in the identification of Robert’s remains. Doug had also kept records and remained in contact with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Robert will always be a World War II hero. His selfless sacrifice came while fighting under withering fire and constant attack of Japanese forces on the island of Saipan. After 78 years, Doug, Al, and the other relatives of Robert Alexander are relieved that he has finally been accounted for. The family is also grateful for the POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the U.S. Army in their efforts to identify Robert and to ‘Never Forget’ and ‘Never Leave a Fallen Comrade.’

For Robert Alexander’s family, the wait is over. Other families continue to be hopeful and wait for word about their loved ones who did not return home. But the diligence of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency may bring an answer.

We hope it will.


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