Giltner Soldier Missing In Action For 77 Years Will Finally Be Laid To Rest in His Hometown

June 7, 2021, 7 a.m. ·

Army Pvt. Lyle Reab's army photo.
Army Pvt. Lyle Reab was only 22 years old when he went missing in action during World War II. (Courtesy photo)

Listen To This Story

After being missing in action for 77 years, a soldier killed during World War II will finally rest in his hometown in Giltner, in south central Nebraska. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency was able to identify the soldier through DNA testing in February.

Army Pvt. Lyle Reab of Giltner was fighting German forces with his unit in Vossenack, Germany in 1944 when he went missing in action. The 22-year-old’s remains were recovered in a foxhole in the German town in 1948, then buried and labeled as an unknown soldier in Belgium a year later. Now, his remains are in a funeral home in Aurora, Nebraska. Howland Higby-McQuiston Mortuary Funeral Director Kenny Howland said they’re honored to arrange the soldier’s service.

"We've had a lot of World War II veterans over the years, but nothing from anyone that had passed away due to battle. Just kind of breaks your heart," Howland said.

Reab was an only child. His parents left behind a burial spot and headstone for their son.

Karen Thomas, Reab’s second cousin, said they’re thankful to the military for finally bringing him home.

"It's just unfortunate that his parents never ever knew where he was at, but that's okay. We're bringing him home now," she said. "And we'll bury him next to his parents and that's where he should be."

The soldier born in Phillips, Nebraska, will be buried at the Lerton Cemetery in Giltner Tuesday, June 8 with full military honors.