Recently identified WWII soldier from Ky. laid to rest over the weekend
Published 10:30 am Monday, September 25, 2023
Flags at all state buildings will be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Sept. 23, not only to honor former Gov. Brereton Jones but for a Kentucky soldier who was killed in Europe during World War II, but whose remains weren’t identified until recently.
U.S. Army Pvt. J.C. Brooks of Rockfield, Kentucky, was a member of Company I, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. His unit was part of Operation HUSKY, the Allied effort from July 10 to Aug. 17, 1943, to capture Sicily. Brooks was killed Aug. 1 while leading an advance against German forces as first scout during the Battle of Troina. His body was unable to be recovered because of the fighting.
The American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was charged with recovering the remains of fallen service members in the European Theater following the war. Though they searched the area near Troina, they were unable to find remains that could be identified as Brooks. He was declared non-recoverable on April 9, 1947.
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In 2016, DPAA historians began to investigate U.S. losses from the 1943 invasion of Sicily. During this research, one Unknown, X-22227 Monte Soprano, was a candidate to match Brooks. After extensive research and record comparison by DPAA historians and analysts, X-22227 was disinterred in June 2019 and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for analysis.
To identify Brooks’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical examiner System used DNA analysis.
Brooks’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Nettuno, Italy, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has now been accounted for.
Brooks was interred at Elizabethtown Memorial Gardens in Cecilia, Kentucky, on Saturday. The American Legion hosted a celebration of life at 2 p.m. at the organization’s hall on Ridge Road in Elizabethtown.