UW-Madison works to recover remains of Wisconsin soldiers

On Aug. 3, 2018, UW–Madison student Torrey Tiedeman (center) uses a pickaxe to remove soil from...
On Aug. 3, 2018, UW–Madison student Torrey Tiedeman (center) uses a pickaxe to remove soil from a dig site in northern France during a World War II M.I.A. soldier recovery mission that was a joint effort between the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s MIA Recovery and Identification Project and the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.(BRYCE RICHTER)
Published: Mar. 26, 2022 at 11:11 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2022 at 12:33 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project has located and recovered the remains of three American WWII soldiers since 2014. Now that the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are being lifted, they hope to recover many more.

Currently, the team is conducting investigations at least two sites – one in Belgium near Bastogne and another in Saipan, an island off the coast of Guam.

The next planned expedition will occur in June, where a team of 14 will return to the Belgium site to resume excavations that were halted by the pandemic, the UW said.

Associate Director of the UW Biotechnology Center and the team lead for the MIA Project, Charles Konsitzke, said that the team might have to start from square one in Belgium due to how overgrown the area may have become. Even so, he said the extra work will be worth it.

“We’re all looking forward to the opportunity to complete this project and give another family closure,” said Konsitzke.

The UW MIA Recovery and Identification team are able to identify remains with the help of the Biotechnology Center’s DNA Processing work and the research done by UW Madison’s History Department students.

The History Department’s Missing in Action Seminar class is currently investigating several dozen missing soldier cases in Wisconsin. Konsitzke hopes that the team will be able to come up with enough financial resources to fund expeditions for each of the missing Wisconsin soldiers.

Though the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency helps to fund the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project, the MIA team also needs to raise a substantial amount of additional money to help pay for the expensive excavations.

“Every case we can help close is important to many people and rewarding, but to be able to use all our experience and expertise to return someone from Wisconsin to their family would be special,” Konsitzke says.

In an effort to help raise funds, the MIA Project will host a live online concert on Sunday, March 27, at 2 p.m. called, “Coming Home.” The concert will be hosted on the MIA Project’s website and will have live performances by local bluegrass bands. Some of those bands include Armchair Boogie, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Six Mile Grove, and Filitaliana.

While the concert will be free to watch, there is a suggested donation of $25 per household.

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