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77 years later: WWII POW/KIA PFC Harvey Andrew Nichols returns home to Mississippi

The bio of PFC Nicols has been graciously provided by the Patriot Guard Riders of the Mid South in Mississippi who will escort him home tomorrow, September 5th, 2019.  Route information provided by Magee News.

Private First Class, Harvey Andrew Nichols, United States Army, born April 5, 1915 – died November 19, 1942, will be laid to rest September 7, 2019.

PFC Nichols joined the Army on January 9, 1940, as a member of the 33rd Quartermaster Corps. On December 8, 1941, Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands and intense fighting continued until May 6, 1942, when Corregidor fell. Thousands of US and Filipino soldiers were taken prisoner, including many who were forced to endure the infamous Bataan Death March en route to the Japanese-operated POW camp and Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Almost 2,800 of these POWs perished in the camp. On November 19, 1942, thirteen American servicemen and one American civilian died from malnutrition and medical neglect while in the camp hospital. These men were buried in Common Grave 717 in the camp cemetery. PFC Nichols was one of these 14 men who had been captured during the fighting for Corregidor and was officially listed by the Army as MIA on May 7, 1942.

Throughout history, the identification of remains was not conducted using the methods or techniques standard for today’s scientific rigor. Starting in the early 2010s, repeated inquiries and legal action initiated by a family member, possibly related to one of the unknowns from Common Grave 717, resulted in several scientific and historical reviews of the assemblage to evaluate the identification potential of the remaining ten Unknowns. In this process, it was noted there was a high likelihood of misidentification of some or all of the original identifications from Common Grave 717 due to commingling. In 2014 the Secretary of the Army granted permission to exhume the ten graves associated with the Cabanatuan Common Grave 717. On August 28, 2014, the remains were accessioned into the laboratory. To date, DNA analyses have shown that each casket contains the remains of an average of three different individuals.

PFC Nichols’s awards consist of the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Philippine Defense Ribbon.

The Route: Information provided by Magee News

Thursday route:

The airplane is scheduled to land at 12:03.  The procession will travel through Brandon onto Star Road.  From Star Road, the procession will turn onto highway 49 continuing until exiting on highway 13.  The procession will end at Colonial Chapel Funeral Home.

Probably, the procession will arrive around 1 or 1:30.  Again, everyone is encouraged to be present on the side of the highway as the procession passes.  Several law enforcement agencies will be in attendance as well as government agencies and the Patriot Riders.

On Saturday following the funeral at Calvary Baptist Church (5110 US Hwy 49 Braxton), the procession to the gravesite will go right out of the parking lot onto old highway 49.  The cemetery is about 1 mile from the church on the right.  Services will begin at 10:00 AM.

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