SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Civil War-era soldier who received the Medal of Honor will be buried with full military honors after his ashes were discovered in an unmarked, communal crypt.
Sgt. Charles Schroeter will be buried at Miramar National Center in July, nearly a century after he died, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1eGWVRf ).
The military is happy to correct the mistake, National Training Center spokesman Kenneth Drylie said.
"Even though he's gone, he's still a soldier," Drylie said. "You never leave a fallen comrade."
No one knows why Schroeter had no one willing to claim his ashes.
A group of San Diego veterans, including retired Navy Capt. Bill Heard, spent months researching Schroeter's story. "I couldn't let this man go unrecognized," Heard said.
Schroeter was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States just before the start of the Civil War. He enlisted in Missouri in 1863. After the Civil War ended, he enlisted again and headed west to Arizona to fight in the Indian Wars and protect American settlers.
He was later credited with gallantry in action against Apaches in a fierce firefight in Arizona. After the deadly battle, 32 cavalrymen were nominated for the top combat medal.
Heard convinced the National Cemetery Administration that the Schroeter at San Diego's Greenwood Cemetery was the same person awarded the Medal of Honor in 1870. He succeeded and was standing by as Greenwood workers opened the unmarked crypt and found a box with Schroeter's ashes.
The ashes had been at the cemetery's mausoleum building for a number of years and previously stored in the property's basement.
Schroeter will be the first Medal of Honor recipient buried at San Diego's newest national cemetery.