Soldier’s Remains Return to Idaho This Week
After more than seventy years, an Idaho soldier's remains will arrive back in Idaho this week.
What took so long? Well, that's a pretty unbelievable story of mistaken identity.
Army Private First Class Fred Ashley was reported Missing in Action on May 1945, after more than 300 German soldiers attacked his platoon. Ashley was mortally wounded, and KTVB said he was last seen being carried off by German soldiers. Ashley and his fellow troops had been on a reconnaissance mission in former Czechoslovakia when the attack happened.
Here's the twist. Ashley's remains were initially mixed up with another soldier's back in the 1940s, and it was only recently sorted out. Everyone thought a gravesite in Czechoslovakia held Ashley's remains, but that resting place actually included the remains of Flight Officer Richard W. Lane instead.
Lane was buried with full military honors in Gage County, Nebraska in 1946, or so they thought. That Nebraska gravesite held the remains of Fred Ashley, and they confirmed that this past summer with some in-depth analysis. After a 73-year mixup, Ashley's remains are on their way back to his home state of Idaho as we speak.
Later this week, the families will finally have closure, and these two military heroes will finally have a final resting place.
Pfc. Ashley will be buried this Saturday, October 20 in his hometown of Emmett, and a special ceremony is planned to honor him.
There's always an interesting, untold story in the dash between the years of birth and death on a gravestone, and this one is pretty exceptional. We're happy for the families that they've finally got a little closure.