An Upstate WWII Soldier Gets Honored At Arlington After 78 Years
After a 78 year journey, an Upstate soldier killed in action during World War II has finally been identified and will be buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Army First Lieutenant Myles Esmay of Utica served in the 236th Engineer Combat Battalion.
Lt. Esmay enlisted in the Army months after graduating from SUNY in 1940, where he majored in environmental science and forestry, according to this Syracuse.com article. In the Army, he served as an air cadet. His father was his only officially listed next-of-kin.
Lt. Esmay's Long Trip Home
On June 7, 1944, Lt. Esmay was killed by a Japanese hand grenade while fighting in Myanmar. He was 27 years old. His body was never identified due to the extent of his combat wounds. He was buried in Myanmar with other unidentified soldiers for two years until his remains were moved to a US Military Cemetery in India. In 1949, Lt. Esmay was moved again back to American soil, where he was interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Known only as “Unknown X-64 Kalaikunda,” Lt. Esmay went undisturbed for fifty years until he was disinterred again for an attempt to identify the remains with modern technology by the Defense Department. Using DNA and dental analysis, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency successfully identified the Upstate native on May 25, 2021.
When Will Lt. Esmay Be Honored?
The burial is scheduled for Monday, August 1 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, the nation’s most hallowed military cemetery. We thank Lt. Esmay for his service and sacrifice for this country.