CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The remains of a U.S. serviceman unaccounted for since World War II have been identified and are being returned home to his family in the south suburbs.
Marine Pfc. Charles Oetjen was just 18-years-old when he was killed in battle on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Friday, he came home.
Oetjen's remains were discovered in 2015 along with the remains of 34 other Marines buried in a trench on the Tarawa atoll of the Gilbert Islands.
Those remains landed at O'Hare airport on Friday. A motorcade escort by state police brought the body to Blue Island where Oetjen was raised. More than a hundred residents lined the street to show their respect.
Also present were members of Oetjen's family including a second cousin who provided the DNA sample that allowed investigators to make the identification.
"It's beautiful to get, bring a soldier home to his native town and just look at all of these people to meet him is just - if you can't get emotional about this, then you're just not human. This is just a beautiful sight to see. This is more than what i would ever thought it would amount to." said Ken Oetjen.
Oetjen will be laid to rest Saturday at First Evangelical Cemetery Lutheran Cemetery in Alsip. He will be buried next to his mother and father.