UPDATE: Funeral services held in Tallahassee for long missing WWII veteran

Long missing WWII soldier laid to rest
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 7:15 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - An unknown hero has finally been identified and brought home.

Funeral services were held at Tallahassee National Cemetery Monday for Staff Sgt. William Oscar Wood, a World War II soldier killed in action 79 years ago.

Jeff Barton, Wood’s great nephew, said this day was a long time coming.

“This has been something the family has always wanted but never thought would ever happen,” Jeff said.

Sgt. Wood, a Valdosta native, was killed on August 1st, 1943.

His plane was shot down during a bombing mission in Romania.

His remains were buried there with other fallen soldiers, unidentified for decades.

On the 79th anniversary of his death, Wood’s family finally got the closure they’ve been waiting for.

“Now we can put him at rest,” Fred T. Barton, Wood’s nephew, said.

UPDATE: How remains are identified

Fred was the one who got the phone call a few months ago, saying that thanks to DNA testing, his uncle’s remains had finally been identified.

“I said, ‘Say what?’” Fred recalled. “And they had to repeat it.”

At Monday’s funeral, attendees honored the great lengths that Sgt. Wood went to to serve his country.

“He reminds us how many men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for us,” Congressman Neal Dunn said.

And Wood’s family celebrated the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to him.

“It’s just amazing that after 79 years, they haven’t given up on any of these [soldiers],” Jeff said. “They’re still bringing them home. And that means so much to me.”

At the ceremony, Congressman Dunn presented Sgt. Wood’s family with a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Purple Heart on Wood’s behalf.

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