Wayne M. Evans was 21 years old when he died in a World War II POW Camp in the Philippines. Now, 79 years later, his remains have been brought back to his home town of Hamilton, Montana. Evans was born in Hamilton February 24, 1921, and graduated from Hamilton High School in 1937.

Evans was a Private in Battery G, 59th Coast Artillery Regiment during the early days of World War II. He was captured when Allied forces surrendered the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor in 1942. He died July 19, 1942, in the Cabanatuan POW Camp. He and others who died were buried in Common Grave 312. More than 2,500 prisoners died at that camp during the war. Three years after Evans' death, Allied Forces rescued over 500 prisoners in what is known as "The Great Raid."

The bodies were exhumed after the war, but identities were not immediately known. In 2018, the remains were examined by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Recently his identity was confirmed using DNA and anthropological analysis. Plans were then made to bring him home.

The casket was accompanied by the Honor Guard of the Montana Army National Guard from Missoula, who held military honors for Evans. Ravalli American Legion Post 47 also honored Evans at the Riverview Cemetery Saturday afternoon. Family and friends were at the ceremony. Chaplain Major Darren Schwartz of US Army officiated and said, "”In life he honored the flag, in death the flag honors him.”

Wayne M. Evans in WWII. (Photo provided)