Nearly 76 years after Fort Lauderdale Medal of Honor winner Alexander R. “Sandy” Nininger Jr. was killed in action in the Philippines, the U.S. is refusing his family’s request to use DNA testing to identify Nininger’s remains and bring him home.
Nininger, the first American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II, is officially listed as missing, a status that includes GIs known to be dead but whose bodies haven’t been recovered.
Yet Nininger’s nephew and next of kin, John A. Patterson, says he knows precisely where his uncle is buried as an Unknown: Manila American Cemetery Grave J-7-20.
“The search has dragged on for years, but I never gave up and thought that this was over,” said Patterson, a former Rhode Island state senator who lives in North Kingstown, R.I. He and his sister, Linda Carney of Deland, have provided DNA samples the Army has never employed for testing.