Remains of World War II Army soldier finally brought home to Michigan

This WWII veteran was killed in 1942, and his ashes came back to Michigan today.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Saturday is Veterans Day, the official holiday to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

This Saturday, Nov. 11, a Michigan man killed in World War II will be laid to rest nearly 75 years after his death.

On Dec. 5, 1942, Army Technician Fourth Grade, Peter Mason Counter was killed during an intense engagement with Japanese forces in the vicinity of Soputa on the Sanananda Track in what is present-day Papua New Guinea. He was 24 when he died.

Counter was initially buried nearby and then moved several times over the decades. Numerous attempts were made to identify his remains with no success.

Finally, in 2012, the Army found and contacted Counter's niece, Lavinah Kollias and asked her to submit a DNA sample. It was a match.

Now, decades after his death, Counter was greeted at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport by a woman he'd never met--his niece. She and a team of Army Casualty Assistance Officers will escort him home and provide full military honors at his funeral on Saturday--Veteran's Day.

Counter's obituary said he was presumably born in the Onaway where his family had a farm. The public is invited to attend the service and honor his life.

For more information, the Detroit Free Press reported on Counter's life and death

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