After 70 years, WWII MIA combat veteran is identified, returned to Texas soil

By Leigh Frillici - Reporter

HOUSTON - Generations of one Texas family went seven decades without answers about their war hero.

Lonnie Eichelberger died in battle, in the final months of World War II.

His remains were unidentified, until just recently. On Wednesday, he was laid to rest at Houston National Cemetery.

It was a homecoming for U.S. Serviceman Lonnie Eichelberger.

The WWII combat veteran was a member of Company I, 371st Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division.

At a time of segregation, the 92nd was the only African American division in Europe.

They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

During the end stages of WWII, Eichelberger, 20, was declared missing in action after a battle in Italy against German defenses.  

For years, a set of remains discovered in that battle area carried the label “x193” and Eichelberger was buried as “Unknown” in a United States military cemetery in Italy.

In 2016, his remains were disinterred and testing confirmed the identity of Army Pfc. Lonnie Eichelberger.

His long journey home was greeted and honored by his great-nephew and great-niece as well as other veterans.

Unknown no more, this soldier has a name and he has come home to Texas soil more than 70 years after his death.  

The Army established that Eichelberger was killed in action on Feb. 10, 1945.
 

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