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Bill Beigel presents “Return of the WWII Dead” to 300 students at Goodland High School, Jan. 21

On January 21, 2015, WW2 Casualty Researcher Bill Beigel of Torrance, CA, will give a special presentation at a student assembly at the Goodland High School in Kansas. Several students from the high school will participate in the presentation.

Beigel will talk about this program during his presentation, “Return of the WWII Dead: How the demands of American families changed history” with a special segment entitled “Tell Me About My Boy: 2nd Lt. Fred. K Stewart, from Clearwater, Kansas to Germany and Back.”

Beigel’s program incorporates several students – none of whom he has met – into the program, where students will read quotes from letters between families of the fallen, the U.S. War Department, and President Truman. Beigel will also show stunning photographs taken in 1947 and 1948 as thousands of the fallen victors arrived New York and San Francisco harbors.

In 1947, across the United States, hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women made their silent return from World War II.  These Americans were the soldiers, flyers, naval personnel and Marines who had met their deaths overseas in the War, and whose remains were being returned, at Government expense, to their next of kin. This effort occurred entirely during the time of Harry S. Truman’s presidency.  The “Return of the Dead” program was unprecedented in expense and scope, and remains unique in world history.  No other nation returned its dead to the homeland after the War. Yet this story, which occurred from 1947 to 1951, remains a forgotten legacy of the Truman Presidency.

Beigel plans to bring this story to life for the students of Goodland High in the hope that they will not forget, and to honor the generation that demanded the return of their fallen heroes, forever changing the way the nations of the world care for their war dead.

Bill Beigel is an American military casualty researcher, specializing in the records of American servicemen and women who died in active duty in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Bill has researched nearly a thousand fallen service members, providing long‐sought knowledge about the deaths and last acts in wartime of family members, fellow servicemen, entire fighting squads, or a complete list of veterans who served from a community, school, university, or region.  Beigel holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Master of Arts Degree in Geography, both from UCLA. Bill Beigel is preparing to publish a book on this topic.

  1. Bruce LambertoBruce Lamberto04-02-2015

    Hi Bill,

    Could you contact me via email at or call me at 786 367 7072. I did some research on the 27 soldiers, sailors, marines and airman who are buried in Southern Memorial Park Cemetery in North Miami Beach, FL. who were killed in action or died of wounds in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I need your help on finding out more about them.

    Bruce Lamberto

    • Bill BeigelBill Beigel08-17-2015

      Hi Bruce.

      Your project sounds very interesting; I’d be glad to help if I can. I sent you an email (dated April 3). Please get in touch with me via email or though the Contact form on this site. I’d like to know a little more about the men you’ve researched and what additional information you’d like to learn about them.

      I look forward to hearing from you.


  2. Bill JayneBill Jayne08-17-2015

    I’m retired from VA’s National Cemetery Administration and live in Wilmington, NC. I’ve become something of a local expert on the history of Wilmington National Cemetery, which was originally established for the Union dead of the Battle of Ft. Fisher and its aftermath. The Ft. Fisher State Historic Site is hosting a program on WWII in early September and has asked me to speak about Wilmington National Cemetery and the WWII dead.
    Can you point me toward any sources that would provide details on the Army’s recovery and reburial program? The records for the national cemetery are not organized by date and the only way to identify WWII war dead is to look at the date of death on the headstone.
    Any advice at all would be helpful. Thanks.
    P.S. I am a USMC veteran of Vietnam with a Purple Heart.

    • William BeigelWilliam Beigel08-17-2015

      Hi, Bill. Thanks for getting in touch with me. Unfortunately, if the cemetery’s records aren’t organized by date, it will be difficult to determine who in the cemetery is a WW2 casualty, the number of casualties buried there, etc. I could point you to resources for confirming a burial location from a list of names, but there isn’t a source that will help you put together the list of names if the cemetery can’t provide it.

      However, I am currently working on a book about the Return of the WWII Dead program in the U.S. at the end of the war (scheduled for publication in 2016). I can offer you some information on that program that I think will be very interesting to that audience. I will email you this information.

      Good luck with your talk. I hope you’ll post a follow-up here to let me know how it goes.

      Thank you for your military service in the Marines, and keep up the good work on Wilmington National Cemetery.”


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