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Remains of WWII soldier from West returning home after over 70 years

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Posted at 1:21 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-23 11:39:19-04

The remains of a Central Texas soldier killed in 1945 during a World War II battle in Germany have been identified and are being returned to his family.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says 21-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Leo J. Husak of West was accounted for in February. His remains will return to Texas on Tuesday night, and the burial will be Saturday in his hometown.

A welcoming celebration has been planned for Tuesday night at the Aderhold Funeral Home parking lot. West police say Husak's remains could arrive as early as 7 p.m. or as late as 8:30 p.m. Boy Scouts will be passing out flags when the soldier's body is around 20 minutes outside of West.

The funeral service is scheduled at the West Brethren Church at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Husak was born in West on August 9, 1923. He was a member of the West Brethren Church and he attended West High School where he played football.

He was drafted into the United States Army on March 4, 1943, and later deployed to Germany in December of 1944. Before his deployment, Husak was granted furlough during the summer of 1944. This was the last time his family saw him, according to Husak's obituary

Husak was with Company A, 1st Battalion, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division, when he was killed in January 1945. Other soldiers were unable to recover Husak's remains due to continued fighting.

After the war, hundreds of remains from German battlefields were buried in the Netherlands.

In 2016, U.S. military researchers determined further details on where Husak died. Some remains were disinterred last year and sent to a military lab, where DNA identified Husak.

Survivors of Husak today include his sister, Irene Lancaster, his brothers Johnny Husak and wife Jane, Edwin Husak and wife Erlene, and Fred Husad and wife Kathy, along with many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Copyright 2018 KXXV/ The Associated Press. All rights reserved.