Local News

Identifying Fallen Soldiers Has Great Meaning

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - A local war veteran is pleased the remains of two brothers from La Porte killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 have been identified.


La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski, who saw combat duty in the Vietnam War, said anytime a missing soldier is identified means a lot to veterans fortunate to have safely returned home from battle.  "The ones that actually go into battle and suffer through all of the things that are associated with that, we need to remember that.  Every one of us owe a lot to all of our veterans," he said.


Harold and William Trapp were on board the USS Oklahoma which sank from the attack which triggered U.S. involvement in World War II, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency which made the May 10 announcement.  The agency is part of the U.S Department of Defense which keeps track of U.S. servicemen still classified as prisoners of war or missing in action.


According to the federal agency, 429 crewmen were aboard the USS Oklahoma capsized when hit multiple times by torpedos.  In 2015, the remains of the unidentified servicemen aboard the vessel were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.  The Trapp brothers ages 24 and 23 were identified in November from advanced dental and DNA testing.  They’re scheduled to be reburied June 15 at the National Memorial Cemetery.  A rosette will be placed next to their names to indicate they’re no longer missing, officials said.


Mrozinski, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization in Rolling Prairie, said he expects an attempt will be made to locate any family members of the brothers still living in the area.  The purpose would be to notify them of the discovery and invite them to any ceremonies held locally.  “We can’t forget these guys that went off to serve our country and paid the ultimate price.  This is a great effort we have going on to find these people,” Mrozinski said.

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