Memorial Service, Burial in Bozeman for World War II Soldier

May 26, 2019 Updated: May 26, 2019

BOZEMAN, Mont.—A World War II soldier from Montana who died on an island in the Pacific Ocean 75 years ago has been buried in his home state after his remains were identified last year.

A memorial and funeral with full military honors were held on May 25 in Bozeman for Army Pvt. William A. Boegli, who was raised in Sedan, Montana.

Boegli, a member of the 81st Infantry Division, was killed while leading a group of litter bearers to evacuate wounded soldiers during the invasion of Angaur Island in 1944, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. He was 25 when he died.

The Bozeman Chronicle reports Boegli was initially buried without identification on the island, and later moved to a cemetery at Fort McKinley in the Philippines. His remains were sent to Hawaii last year and identified using DNA comparisons with relatives.

Boegli’s name has been permanently inscribed on the “Walls of the Missing” at Manila American Cemetery in Taguig, Philippines.

During Saturday’s funeral, Boegli was awarded medals including a Purple Heart, Silver Star, and WWII Victory Medal.

nephew at boegli's funeral
Pvt. William A. Boegli’s oldest nephew, Don McHenry, pays his respects to Boegli during a funeral service at Dokken-Nelson Funeral in Bozeman, Mont., on May 25, 2019. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP)

Boegli’s nephew, Don McHenry, was one of the relatives to take a DNA test and said the results were emotional and surprising.

“To find somebody that you didn’t know anything about for 70 years, it was really interesting to find,” he said.

william boegli funeral
A veteran pays his respects to Army Pvt. William A. Boegli during a funeral service in Bozeman, Mont., on May 25, 2019. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP)

Chaplain Daniel Thompson closed the funeral by acknowledging Boegli’s sacrifice.

“Thank God for those that are willing, when needed, to make the sacrifice,” he said. “William was part of a long line of servicemen to put on the uniform and give up his life.”