ROSEVILLE, Minn. – World War II veteran Staff Sgt. Gerald Jacobsen’s body will be returning home to Minnesota soon.
The Star Tribune reports that an Illinois woman first identified Jacobsen by four digits written on the underwear of his remains, buried in France after his death. DNA testing later confirmed his identity, much to the joy of his long suffering wife.
Catherine Tauer married Jacobsen in January 1943 according to the Star Tribune.
He and the rest of Company M of the 134th Infantry Regiment left for France in May 1944, arriving on July 6. Nine days later at an observation post, Jacobsen and a comrade sustained heavy artillery fire from the Germans, knocking out their communications according to the biography at Mueller-Bies Funeral Homes. Jacobsen was listed as missing while the other soldier was found dead. One year and a day later Jacobsen’s status was changed to deceased.
It was only by the efforts of amateaur historian Roberta Russo and her Freedom of Information Act requests that Jacobsen was discovered, reports the Star Tribune.
The four numbers she discovered in Jacobsen’s underwear were part of his military serial number, usually used by soldiers to maintain possession of their clothing as it went through the wash according to Russo.
Tauer held out hope of Jacobsen’s return. Even after she remarried she told her new husband that if by some miracle Jacobsen did come back to the United States, she would go back to him.
Now Senator Amy Klobuchar will present Tauer with her late husband’s medals, reports the Star Tribune. This includes a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart among other awards.
There will be a visitation for Jacobsen on Thursday afternoon at Mueller-Bies Funeral Home. The Funeral will be at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Little Canada, followed by the burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Jacobsen will finally return home after 73 years in an unnamed grave in France.