WWII veteran's remains to be buried at Arlington - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

WWII veteran's remains to be buried at Arlington

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An Oelwein World War II veteran's remains were found overseas.

More than 70 years after PFC. Wilbur Mattern was killed in action while fighting on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, his remains will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Nov. 21.

At 22, PFC. Wilbur Matter was killed while fighting in the Battle of Tarawa.

In 2015, History Flight Incorporated found remains of 35 marines, including those of Mattern.

Experts were able to identify them by their dental records.

Mattern's remains will receive full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.

It brings peace of mind to local veterans and families.

"I'm glad they're bringing him home. In a way, I kind of wish they were bringing him back to Oelwein. We'd like to honor him here, but Arlington Cemetery would be very fitting for him," Oelwein American Legion Commander, Jake Blitsch said.

Commander Blitsch wishes he could attend Monday's burial service, but he said the news came at short notice.

"It gives me a very sobering effect going to Arlington Cemetery. I've probably been there five or six times, and I'm amazed by the vastness of it. It's just a wonderful place to honor our war dead for sure," Commander Blitsch said.

More than 50 bricks are placed in the ground to commemorate Oelwein veterans killed in action.

An Oelwein mom says her son was nearly the same age when he was killed while serving in Iraq.

"Everyone deserves to have their loved ones buried at a site where they can go to mourn them, love them, and bring little things for them. I would almost think it would be like having a missing person to not have that closure," Seth Garceau's mom, Lori said.

Lori said her son would have been 34 on Nov. 14.

Mattern was killed Nov. 21, 1943.

His remains will be buried Monday Nov. 21, 2016.

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