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 (née 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 Monterey, 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.
Missing In Action (MIA)
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 (S&R 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).
Recovery of Dog Tags and Possible Remains
During March 2017, while walking along a jungle trail from a waterfall back to Barana, Willie Bessi Davis an eight year old boy located a pair of dog tags and a King Kamehameha pressed penny on a chain and bone fragments on the western side of Hill 27 and brought them to his father, Henry Davis. Together, the father and son returned to the site and his father collected human bone fragments into a plastic bag for safe keeping.
Advised to hold onto the items carefully, a photograph of the dog tag pair and charm was placed on Facebook in an attempt to locate the relatives and reported to Ms. Donna Esposito who was visiting Guadalcanal. Esposito located the relatives of Dale W. Ross and reported the dog tags to Pacific Wrecks. During July 2017, namesake and nephew Dale W. Ross reported the discovery to his U. S. Army casualty officer twice, but did not receive any instructions or call back. Previously, Dale W. Ross voluntarily provided a DNA sample to the Department of Defense (DoD) in hopes his uncle might one day be located.
During early August 2017, two relatives of Dale W. Ross: nephew Dale W. Ross (nephew and namesake) and Peggy (niece) with Donna Esposito and Justin Taylan traveled to Guadalcanal and visited Barana village. At Barana village, Willie and Henry Davis presented the family members with the dog tags and human remains. That same day, the relatives turned them over to an investigation team team (IT) from Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on Guadalcanal. Both the dog tags and remains were accepted as part of a unilateral turnover.
On August 7, 2017 the possible remains and dog tags were part of a repatriation ceremony and flown aboard USCG C-130H from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to Hickam AFB where they were accessioned by the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) at Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Officially, Maj. Jessie Romero stated to the Associated Press (AP) "Until a complete and thorough analysis of the remains is done by our lab, we are unable to comment on the specific case associated to the turnover". Since then, the potential remains are awaiting DNA testing, the family members were advised this process "could take years", despite the fact the pair of dog tags was recovered and the family members were already located and had already provided DNA samples.
Ross was officially declared dead on January 14, 1943. He earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Charles Irvin Ross 1915-1977, US Navy veteran (brother)
Clifford Elmer "Cliff" Ross 1918-1994, US Army veteran (brother)
Calvin A. Ross 1923-2002, US Navy veteran (brother)
Dale W. Ross (nephew and namesake of Dale W. Ross)
Peggy Freitas (niece of Dale W. Ross)
Vicki Plankenhorn (niece of Dale W. Ross)
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Clifford E. Ross
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Dale W. Ross
Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) - Dale W. Ross
(Page 8) "Proceedings of Board of Review
a. Personnel Involved (AGRS-PAZ Case No. 7-1687) Ross, Dale W. PFC 39307184 USA
b. Private First Class Ross was reported as Killed In Action on the west slope of Hill 27 (Mt. Austen), Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands on 14 January 1943. 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. Although a prolonged search was made for Private Ross when the engagement was concluded, the results were negative. (Exhibits B - D)
c. On 9 February 1949, members of the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company led by a native chief arrived at Mt. Auson [sic] in search of further information concerning this case. It was found that Mt. Austen was covered with grass 6 to 10 feet tall, and only a few foxholes were located. The team searched from the top of Mt. Austen down to the Matanikau River, but no identifying equipment or remains could be found in the entire area on the western slope (Exhibit E)"
(Page 13) Exhibit D - Records of Events January 14th & 15th, 1943 of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry at the Gifu Strongpoint, Guadalcanal, SI - January 14th  intensive paroling to the front was continued by all companies. Malaria accounted for more each day and the Battalion was then at about 75% strength. Infiltration through the lanes had ceased and the sniping was not as active as it had been the previous days. The artillery and 81 mm mortars have fire intermittently into the pocket every night since the 8th. It and the hand grenades at night did not allow the enemy much rest. Anti Tank Company was attached to the 2nd Battalion and was placed into the line between companies F and G."
Medford Mail Tribune "Ashland Youth Among Missing on Guadalcanal" April 6, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dale W. Ross
FindAGrave - PFC Dale W Ross (tablets of the missing)
35th Infantry Regiment Association "Cacti" - PFC Dale W. Ross - In memory of our fallen brother
"The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Dale W. Ross, who died in the service of his country on January 13th, 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 Jackson County, Oregon."
Ashland Daily Tidings "Ashlanders gave lives in some of WWII’s bloodiest battles" by Lynne Hasselman October 6, 2015
"Pfc. Dale W. Ross didn't think when he was assigned to the 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, he would be embroiled in the carnage known as Guadalcanal. An Ashland High School graduate, Dale was a good-looking young man with brown hair and blue eyes and a steady girlfriend. He excelled at cross country, running for miles through the quiet countryside. He knew his way up and down every street in town.
When Dale landed, Guadalcanal was already covered with denuded and blackened palm trees and torched vegetation. The terrain was ominous even for a well-trained athlete — rugged mountains, dormant volcanoes, vine-laden ravines and deep streams. Though torrential rains, knee-deep sticky mud, and mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue fever, Dale ran on, delivering battle messages to commanders.
It was here on Mount Austen, the highest point on Guadalcanal where the timberline ended and the grassland began, that four days into the fierce fighting, Dale ran his last race. On Jan. 14, 1943, he was killed in an area pocketed by foxholes and obscured by grass growing 10 feet high. His remains were never recovered.
Today, Guadalcanal’s lowlands are once again covered with leafy palm trees, its rolling, green terrain home to parrots and kingfishers, and its course grasses scattered through with wildflowers that dance and weave in the wind. In a different time and place, it would be easy to imagine Dale running up Guadalcanal’s winding trails and narrow paths. At the top of Mount Austen, he could look out over the verdant hills all the way to the ocean."
Ashland Daily Tidings "We Regret to Inform You: Remembering 57 Ashlanders who served in WWII and didn’t return" November 15, 2015
"Dale W. Ross, Pvt. 1st Class, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division"
Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII for the UNITED STATES ARMY
"Ross, Dale W / PFC / 39307184 / 1/14/1943 / 35 Infantry 25 Division / Oregon / Solomon Islands"
Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII from OREGON
"Ross, Dale W / PFC / 39307184 / 1/14/1943 / 35 Infantry 25 Division / Oregon / Solomon Islands"
Fold3 - Dale W. Ross
New York Daily News "Dog tags, possible remains of WWII soldier found on South Pacific island" by Chris Carola, AP August 17, 2017
Thanks to Dale Ross, Peggy Freitas, Vicki Plankenhorn and Donna Esposito for additional research and analysis.