COLEMAN, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – World War II Veteran U.S Army Sergeant Garland Collier finally returned to his hometown of Coleman. He was laid to rest with full military honors and gathered by family, friends, veterans, and active duty service members. Collier was just 25-years-old when he was killed in 1944 in action by German forces in the Netherlands. After searching for his remains for six years, he was declared as non-recoverable in 1950.
On June 15, 2022, his family got the call that his remains were identified thanks to DNA samples they sent in to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) over six years ago. Collier R. Watson, His nephew, said the family could not believe the DNA samples actually worked.
“He just had his 104th birthday, but hes going to be 25 forever, but DNA made the difference. When my sister and cousin donated, it was just hope ‘well maybe some day,’ so they made the donations for the DNA and six years later it worked,” said Watson.
Sgt. Colliers eldest niece, Grace Watson Crum, was 8-years-old when her uncle joined the army. She wished her mother, who was close in age with Collier, had the closure that her little brother returned home.
“I just wish my mother could of been here. She was his sister and he lived with us for a while, we were so proud of our uncles who all volunteered,” Crum expressed.
The family said they will hang up Sgt. Colliers burial flag next to his photo in the family farm where he grew up. They said they are overjoyed that their uncle is able to rest at peace alongside his parents.