The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Dale William Ross, who died in the service of his country on January 14th, 1943 in Guadalcanal. The cause of death was listed as MIA/KIA. At the time of his death Dale was 22 years of age. He was from Oregon.
The decorations earned by PFC Dale William Ross include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Dale William Ross was born on June 30, 1920 in North Dakota in the United States to parents William H. Ross and Mabel Viola Ross (nee Warren). He was the third of four children; Charles Irvin Ross born in 1915, Clifford Elmer Ross "Cliff" born 1918, Dale W. Ross born 1920 and Calvin A. Ross born 1923. The family moved to Ashland in Jackson County in southern Oregon. Dale graduated Ashland High School where he was a cross country runner, had a steady girlfriend and was employed on a farm prewar.
During World War II, all four Ross brothers served in the military. Charles and Calvin joined the U. S. Navy. Clifford and Ross joined the U. S. Army.
On April 9, 1942 Ross enlisted in the U. S. Army as a private serial number 39307184. After recruit training in Monterrey, California he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lighting", 35th Infantry Regiment "Cacti", Company E. Ross was sent to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. He participated in the Battle of Mount Austen.
On January 14, 1943 while advancing along the west slope of Hill 27 south of The Gifu near Mount Austen, Pfc was reported as Killed In Action (KIA). He was not seen after an engagement with a small Japanese patrol when shots were heard in the vicinity in which he was last seen. He was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
On March 1, 1943 his mother, Mabel V. Ross received a War Department telegram that reported her son as "missing in action on Guadalcanal". On November 3, 1943 she wrote the adjutant General in Washington DC stating that she had received no further information about her son and requested his personal effects, then again on September 15, 1944. It is unclear if anything was ever returned to the family.
After the fatal engagement, a prolonged search was made for Private Ross, but no trace of him was found. Postwar, his MIA case was numbered AGRS-PAZ Case No. 7-1687. On February 9, 1949 a team from American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) Search and Recovery Expedition #2 (SandR Expedition #2) visited Honiara and sought the help of U.K. Commissioner of Labor Mr. Mitten who furnished the team with a guide named Totiole who took them to Mount Austen where they engaged Solomon Islander chief Baranba unsuccessfully searched "Mt. Austen down to the Matanikau River, but no identifying equipment or remains could be found in the entire area on the western slope." Unable to find any trace of Ross, AGRS recommended his case be closed on May 4, 1949. To this day, Ross remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA)on the Tablets of Missing, Manila Cemetery.
Associated Press - 18 Aug 2017 - by Chris Carola
ALBANY, N.Y. A New York military aviation researcher got more than she bargained for on a dream trip to a battle-scarred South Pacific island, the chance to help solve the mystery of an American soldier listed as missing in action from World War II.
Donna Esposito, who works at the Empire State Aero Sciences Museum in upstate Glenville, visited Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands this spring and was approached by a local man who knew of WWII dog tags and bones found along a nearby jungle trail. The man asked if Esposito could help find relatives of the man named on the tags; Pfc. Dale W. Ross.
After she returned home, Esposito found that Ross had nieces and nephews still living in Ashland, Oregon. A niece and a nephew accompanied Esposito on her late July return to Guadalcanal, where they were given his dog tags and a bag containing the skeletal remains.
Although its not certain yet the remains are the missing soldier, the nephew who made the Guadalcanal trip is confident there will be a match.
Pfc. Dale W. Ross, killed during World War II, was accounted for on April 16, 2019.
Shaun Hall, reporter
Grants Pass (Oregon) Daily Courier
Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
Remains of missing WWII soldier to be buried Saturday near Medford
Associated Press, 1942
U.S. Army Pfc. Dale W. Ross went missing in the final weeks of the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. His remains were found two years ago on the island, and positively
identified as his earlier this year. The remains will be buried in a ceremony Saturday near Medford.
By Shaun Hall of the Daily Courier
Jerry Ross' uncle, U.S. Army Pfc. Dale Warren Ross, will be laid to rest Saturday, nearly 77 years after he went missing during the World War II battle of Guadalcanal.
The soldier's remains, which were found on the island in the South Pacific two years ago and positively identified in April, will be buried next to his mother and brothers at Memory Gardens Memorial Park near Medford. A ceremony with full military honors is set to begin at 11 a.m.
Jerry Ross, a Grants Pass resident, said he'll be at his uncle's ceremony, along with other family members and veterans. The public is welcome to attend.
"They tell us to expect a lot of people, a lot of veterans," he said.
According to family accounts, Dale Ross was an avid runner who jogged and biked the hills and mountains around Ashland as a youngster. On the day he went missing in 1943, he was running to deliver a message, having volunteered for the duty rather than leave it to the soldier who had been assigned the task — a guy who was married and had children.
"They were taking heavy fire," Jerry said on Friday, taking a break from his driving job with TP Trucking. "He figured the married guy had more to lose. He took off and was never seen again."
Jerry's father, Charles Irwin Ross, was in the service at the time and landed on Guadalcanal, where he spoke with Dale's fellow soldiers after the engagement. The family never knew Dale's final fate, however, until two years ago, when an island boy named Willie stumbled across Ross' dog tags near a trail. The boy's family then preserved the tags, along with a canteen and bone fragments found nearby, and turned them over to authorities. Willie is expected to be at Saturday's ceremony.
Earlier this year, the remains were positively identified using DNA provided by Jerry's cousin, who also is named Dale Ross, in honor of their uncle.
Jerry's wife, Debi, said its been an emotional time for her husband and his family, many of whom live in Jackson County. Declining an offer to have Uncle Dale buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., the family is having him buried with their own.
"He's now coming home," Debi said.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency gave the following account in announcing the DNA match:
"Ross was a member of Company E, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Jan. 14, 1943, following a patrol in the vicinity of Hill 27, Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. A search was conducted, but fellow Soldiers were unable to locate his remains."
The remains were found near the hill, according to the agency. The hill was a Japanese strongpoint.
Of 16 million Americans who served in WWII, more than 400,000 died during the conflict, with nearly 73,000 still unaccounted for, according to the POW/MIA agency. Ross' name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, along with the names of others missing during the war. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has now been accounted for.
Jerry's sister, Vicki Plankenhorn, said it's important to honor the nation's fallen.
"I'm excited for the vets," she said. "It's a big thing to them. For the vets, the guys coming home, it's a big deal."
Debi said the experience has been particularly emotional for family members who are parents.
"His mother went to her grave never knowing he made it home," she said. "As a parent, I think that would be the worst.
"It's very emotional for everybody. He was one of our boys. As Americans, he was of our boys."
More information about Dale Warren Ross and his story can be found online at pacificwrecks.com. Reach reporter Shaun Hall at 541-474-3726 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, September 10th, 2019
Missing soldier from WWII laid to rest in Medford
TIMOTHY BULLARD/Daily Courier
Wes Balken (left) and his uncle Chris Balken, grounds crew workers at Memory Gardens Memorial Park, place the remains of U.S. Army Pfc. Dale W. Ross in a grave Saturday.
By Jason McMillen of the Daily Courier
MEDFORD — U.S. Army Pfc. Dale Warren Ross, who has family ties to Grants Pass, was finally laid to rest Saturday after he went missing during the Guadalcanal campaign of World War II nearly 77 years ago.
The soldier's remains, which were found by island resident Willie Bessi Devis two years ago, were positively identified in April. They were buried in a small casket next to Ross' mother and brothers at Memory Gardens Memorial Park near Medford. Willie, now 11, attended Saturday's service.
"I was going to the waterfall with my friends, it's one of our favorite spots to play, and I saw something shiny on the ground," Willie said after the service. "I didn't know what it was, so I took it to my father, who knew they were dog tags, and now we're here visiting — I like it here in America."
He said his father is a mechanic and that his mother works the farm that feeds his family.
He wasn't sure what he wanted to do when he grows up, but his mother thinks it's best that he join the army.
Barbara Decker, 88, was the only one at the service who personally knew Dale Ross, who grew up in Ashland and was 22 when he disappeared. She said that he very much enjoyed long-distance running and horseback riding. She said he helped her learn advanced horseback riding techniques when she was a young girl, and that she knew Ross through her older sister, Betty Dawson, who had a relationship with him.
"I think it's great he's home, back with his family," Dawson said. "I've got a dog named Beau, and if something happens to him I told my daughter to bury him at home, because that's where he belongs, just like Dale."
When Ross wasn't running or horseback riding, he often crafted things out of leather and wood, Dawson said. He often helped people, too.
"He was like another father to me," she said. "He was really a good person and helped everyone."
Jerry Ross, a Grants Pass resident who is a nephew of Dale Ross, said he was pleased with the memorial service and that he's very happy his uncle is finally home.
The younger Ross said the return of his uncle's remains provided more than just closure for his family — it provided relief.
"His parents never knew what happened to him," he said. "There was always the what-ifs — wondering if he was captured and tortured was a huge one. Japanese soldiers commonly did that, and they made ISIS look like the Boy Scouts."
On the day he went missing, Jan. 14, 1943, Ross was running to deliver a message, according to family accounts. He volunteered for the task rather than leave it to the soldier to whom it had been assigned — a man who was married and had children. He posthumously was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Ross' medals were presented to the family in a private ceremony just prior to Saturday's public memorial service, which drew about 100 people, including about 30 Old Guard Riders serving as a honor guard. A military contingent fired a 21-gun salute, presented the family with an American flag and played taps.
The remains had been carried in an urn to Medford by an escort who flew on a commercial flight into Rogue Valley International Medford Airport, where an honor guard waited. An announcement was made at the airport, prompting bystanders to stop, stand and remove their hats, according to Debi Benedict, who is Jerry Ross wife.
"You could have heard a pin drop," she said. "Powerful."
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a press release that the remains were found near Hill 27 and Mount Austen on Guadalcanal, located in the Solomon Islands. The hill was a Japanese strongpoint at the time.
Ross was a member of Company E, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. A search in the days after his death yielded no results. A second search in 1949, made by the American Graves Registration Service, also failed to turn up the body.
But now he's home, and his presence served to reunite his surviving family from far and wide.
"I learned a lot of stuff about family I didn't know about — third fourth and fifth cousins," said Jerry Ross. "It was a good day."