Remains of Private Evans Overbey to Return to Tennessee After Nearly 75 Years

Monday, July 11, 2016 | 01:55pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of United States Army Air Forces Private Evans Overbey of Elizabethton was serving with the 93rd Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group during World War II.  Overbey was reported to be captured in the fall of Corregidor.  Nearly 2,800 prisoners of war died in the Japanese-operated camp at Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon, Philippines.  Overbey along with 12 other servicemen and one American civilian died on November 19, 1942 from malnutrition and medical neglect while in the camp hospital.  He was buried in a common grave in the camp cemetery.  He was 25 years old. 

Advancements in DNA testing and forensic analysis allowed teams at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory to positively identify Overbey in December, 2015. 

“More than seven decades have passed since Evans Overbey left home to serve his country in World War II,” Haslam said.  “There is reverent closure in finally bringing him back to his home state to be buried among our fallen heroes where his family will be joined by his community to offer an appropriate farewell.”

 “It is an honor to be able to finally lay this soldier to rest in a field of honor on his home soil,”  Grinder said.  “Although I am grieved that his parents were not able to live to see this day, his nieces and nephews will now have confirmation that their Uncle Evans is home and Tennessee is grateful for his valiant sacrifice.”

Overbey’s remains will arrive at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport at 2525 TN-25 in Blountville on Tuesday, July 12 at 8:10 p.m. (EDT).  Media planning to attend the dignified transfer of remains at the airport will need to meet the Tri-Cities Regional Airport Public Safety Officer at the Air Services Counter between 7:45 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. (EDT).  Further instructions will be provided at the Air Services Counter.  Interviews with family members will not be provided during the dignified transfer of remains.

Visitation will be at Valley Funeral Home at 1085 North Main Street in Erwin on Thursday, July 14 from 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (EDT).

Haslam has declared a day of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, July 15 in honor of Private Overbey’s ultimate sacrifice.  Burial will be at the Mountain Home National Cemetery at 53 Memorial Avenue in Mountain Home, Tennessee on Friday, July 15 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT).

Overbey is survived by his niece and nephews Grace Erwin and Phillip Erwin of Erwin, Tennessee.  Other surviving nieces and nephews include Vernon Rose, Vernon Rose, Jr., Kenneth Sanger, Jeannette Spiesman, Phyllis Ann Willoughby of Ohio as well as Delorse McCauley of North Carolina and Wanda Murray of Colorado.