© 2023 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

World War II POW from Flanagan is coming home 80 years after his death

John Ferguson
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
John Ferguson was a member of the 28th Materiel Squadron, U.S. Army Air Forces.

The U.S. military has identified a World War II soldier from Livingston County.

Japanese forces had captured John Ferguson, a Flanagan man who served with the U.S. Army Air Forces, following the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands in 1941.

Ferguson, 20, was one of thousands of U.S. soldiers subjected to the 65-mile Bataan death march and then held as a prisoner of war.

John Ferguson
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)
John Ferguson died in Dec. 1942 after he was captured by Japanese forces during World War II.

According to prison and other records, Ferguson died Dec. 10, 1942 and was buried with other prisoners in the Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery in the Philippines. The body was later moved to an American cemetery in Manila in 1950 after Ferguson and many other soldiers could not be identified by the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS).

The Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) exhumed Ferguson's body in 2018 and sent his remains to its laboratory at Joint Base Pearly Harbor-Hickman, Hawaii for analysis. Scientists used DNA testing and other analysis to identify him.

The defense agency said Ferguson was accounted for on July 14, but it withheld publicly releasing his identity until Ferguson’s family received a full briefing.

Ferguson will be buried Oct. 1 in Gridley.

We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with donors across the NPR Network – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
Related Content