NEW ORLEANS, La. (WWL-TV) – More than 70 years later, the body of a local man who fought in World War II is finally home. Army Private Earl Keating was killed in action back in 1942. Saturday night, his family was able to give him the funeral he long deserved.
It was the culmination of more than 70 years of searching for then 28-year-old Private Earl Keating. His family was finally able to lay him to rest in the family tomb at St. Joseph Cemetery.
In 1942, Uncle Earl as the family affectionately calls him, was part of a brutal battle in Papua New Guinea. American forces sustained heavy casualties during that fight, including Uncle Earl.
Decades later Sue Dutreil was contacted by a distant cousin asking for DNA to help identify remains that had been found in 2011.
“A native of New Guinea who was in the jungle area found dog tags and some pieces of military uniform,” Dutreil, a second cousin to Keating, said.
After confirming that that grave contained Private Earl Keating, he was brought home. Saturday he was given full military honors and awarded several medals including the Asiatic Pacific Medal, Purple Heart, and Bronze Star.
“I felt very close to him today throughout that whole mass, that he truly was there and he was thanking us for bringing him home,” Dutreil said.
A soldier laid to a proper on the weekend dedicated to his service to our country.
The bones of several other soldiers were found with Private Keating’s remains. Those were buried at Arlington National Cemetery back in March.