ATHENS, Texas (KETK) – The remains of an Athens man, who was unidentified for decades after he was killed in World War II, finally have a place to rest at a military cemetery in Arkansas.

The army says during World War II Private John P. Cooper’s tank was hit by an enemy rocket in Germany. He was presumed dead in 1946 and declared non-recoverable by 1951.

His unidentified remains were buried in Luxembourg American Cemetery, but they were disinterred in 2021.

Cooper’s remains were later identified by the Defense Department a few months later.

“I got a phone call a couple of months ago, and (they) said he’s been identified using your DNA along with one of the other cousins. And, we’re here, so he’s home,” said Mike Chestnut, Cooper’s nephew.

Cooper’s name is on the Walls of the Missing at Lorraine American Cemetery in France — along with other heroes still missing from World War II. Now, a rosette will be placed next to his name to show he’s been accounted for.


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