Remains of previously unknown World War II soldier to be buried in Florence

Young soldier posed for portrait
Courtesy photo
Tec 5. Clifford H. Strickland from Fowler, CO

The remains of U.S. Army Tec 5. Clifford H. Strickland of Fowler will have a final resting place in Florence. The 25-year-old died a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp during World War II.

Strickland was a member of Company C, 803rd Engineer Battalion (Aviation), according to the federal Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). He was reportedly taken prisoner when the U.S. surrendered to the Japanese in the Bataan peninsula. Following the surrender, Filipino and American service members endured the 65-mile Bataan Death March. 

Strickland died July 29, 1942 and was buried in Common Grave 215 at a POW camp in the Philippines, according to the DPAA. 

The agency said the American Graves Registration Service brought those buried at the POW cemetery to a U. S. military mausoleum near the Filipino capitol city, and Strickland's body was among the seven ultimately deemed unidentifiable. His remains were then moved to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in 1948. There they stayed for around 70 years.

In 2018, the remains associated with Common Grave 215 went to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency for analysis using modern science. 

On December 20, 2023, after 81 years, Strickland was finally identified using his teeth and DNA, among other methods. 

He will be buried on June 29, 2024 at Union Highland Cemetery in Florence.