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As It Was: Body of Missing Soldier Comes Home to Rogue Valley

People said Dale Ross could run like a deer.
As a boy growing up in Ashland, Ore., Ross would go camping with his family at Howard Prairie Lake and run all the way back to Ashland, sometimes beating the family car home.  As a 22-year-old, he joined the U.S. Army during World War II and was sent to Guadalcanal, where he did what he was best at – running messages between command posts.

The army declared him missing-in-action on the island in 1943.  Other soldiers and a brother who was serving on a nearby Navy boat searched for him in vain. 

In 2017, a boy on the island saw something shiny sticking out of the earth that turned out to be Ross’ dog tags and a flattened penny, a good-luck charm Ross wore on a chain.  Searchers also found a canteen engraved with his name.

It took a few years, but relatives have learned through DNA tests that the remains are those of Dale Ross and will be returned home, 74 years after he went missing, for burial in the Rogue Valley next to the graves of his mother and three brothers.

Sources: Darling, John. "Missing No More." Medford Mail Tribune, 22 Aug. 2017, mailtribune.com/news/top-stories/missing-no-more; Ibid. "Coming Home At Last." Ashland Daily Tidings, 21 Apr. 2019, ashlandtidings.com/news/top-stories/remains-of-world-war-ii-soldier-and-ashland-grad-dale-ross-coming-home.

Valerie Ing was a teenager when she hosted her first music program on the airwaves. As a student at SOU, she was JPR’s Chief Student Announcer and the first volunteer in our newsroom. She's now JPR’s Northern California Program Coordinator, hosting Siskiyou Music Hall from JPR's Redding studio in the Cascade Theatre.