Fallen soldier finds final resting place (updated)By Emily Beckett Published 7:28pm Sunday, June 9, 2013
In 2012, Williams’ case was reopened when his niece Dot Justiss and her daughter Tammy Richardson, both of Wetumpka, attended a conference for Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC), which conducts global search, recovery and lab operations to identify unaccounted-for American soldiers from past conflicts.
Justiss and Richardson provided information and DNA samples for the Army to use in identifying Williams’ remains, and in May this year, the family was notified that a positive match had been found.
“I feel the country did us a great honor by bringing him home,” Justiss said. “Thank the Lord that the Army found him and brought him home to us.”
Williams’ remains arrived June 6—the 69th anniversary of D-Day—at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on a flight from Hawaii.
Family members attended a military ceremony on the tarmac, after which an Honors Detachment from Fort Rucker, accompanied by American Legion riders, helped transfer the remains to Martin Funeral Home in Clanton.
Even before she and Richardson got involved with Williams’ identification process through the Army, Justiss said their family honored Williams at their reunion the second weekend of June every year.
Fittingly, they also said their final farewells to Williams on the second weekend of June.
“We won’t ever forget him,” Justiss said. “He’ll be honored every year at the family reunion with his brothers and sisters.”