WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Plans are underway to exhume the remains of a veteran buried in Wilson County after it was revealed they belonged to another veteran whose remains were recently discovered in Hawaii.
Former Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe is helping two World War II veterans find their final home after serving in the military himself following the service of his father.
“My daddy was in the United State’s Marines, fought on Guadalcanal with both of these men,” said Sheriff Ashe, who now serves as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “It’s personal to me a little bit, too.”
In a case of mistaken identity, another World War II veteran lies in the plot for U.S. Marine Captain Glenn Walker, who is supposed to be buried next to his parents in Wilson County.
In 2015 the DPAA, the office charged with finding and identifying missing U.S. service members, identified Captain Walker’s remains in Hawaii.
“There’s a tear and a smile in this,” the sheriff said. “The tear is for the marine we don’t know buried out at Wilson County Memorial Gardens. The smile is Captain Walker’s coming home to be laid between his mother and his daddy.”
There’s now a mission to get the veteran home and identify the one buried in his place.
“I pray that they can identify him,” said Ashe. “There’s some family somewhere in the United States and Lord knows he could be somebody else from here close; we don’t know. They need the same closure the Walker family is going to be able to have.”
Sheriff Ashe is involved with an organization that started in 2012 when he left the sheriff’s office. Their goal is to honor veterans, and this is one way to do just that.
“The family has been gracious enough to ask us to document all these events for historical purposes,” Ashe explained.
The unknown soldier is still buried in Wilson County, and Sheriff Ashe said plans are underway to get the remains removed mid-July.
“This is a very tough thing to do in exhuming someone,” he explained. “Being able to retrieve his body in the proper way and not disturb a lot of things may be a little bit challenging, so maybe the 21st, maybe the 22nd. I’m sure they’re going to seal off the cemetery from the public. They’ve got to get in and do some very serious work.”
All this work is with the hopes of bringing closure to the families of two men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“It tells me that the American government is not giving up,” said Ashe. “As long as our military doesn’t give up on identifying these people, that’s a blessing to a lot of families.”
Ashe said Captain Walker’s remains are expected to be back in Wilson County by July 21 or 22, but there’s no word on where he might Lie in State.