Remains found in Pacific belong to River Rouge WWII hero

- A Detroit man has spent the last 70 years wondering what happened to his brother. He doesn't have to wonder any longer.

George Underwood was 16 old when his brother, Lt. Donald Underwood, killed in WWII. Donald grew up in River Rouge and worked at Ford Motor Company as an electrician before he joined the Army's Air Force.

George would never his older brother again.

In January 1944, his family learned that his brother was flying a bomber in the central Pacific when it went down near the Gilbert Islands shortly after takeoff. George said he found out about his brother's death from a friend.

"I was at a dance. A buddy came up to me right away and said you better go home your brother has been killed," George recalls. "A lot of crying. I do remember being real sad."

For nearly three quarters of century, his remains weren't recovered. Over those 70 years, George slept with a rosary by his bed and prayed that his brother would someday be found.

A few months ago his prayers were answered.

History Flight, a Florida-based group discovered Lt. Donald Underwood's dog tags and remains on Betio Island. Last Saturday, the government confirmed his identity.

"I couldn't believe it really. All these years. I just give them credit for not giving up," George said. "I just had hope but after so long you begin to doubt."

In March, despite not having an official confirmation, the family of Lt. Underwood held a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lt. Underwood will soon be buried in Arlington.

George turns 91 next week and his brother is finally coming home.

"It means a lot. It would mean more if my mother was alive," he said.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories