Flag presented to family of World War II vet who was declared MI - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Flag presented to family of World War II vet who was declared MIA

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Terrance R. Gilbert was presented a flag at the West Haven Veterans Museum in honor of his uncle who disappeared during World War II in Europe. (WFSB) Terrance R. Gilbert was presented a flag at the West Haven Veterans Museum in honor of his uncle who disappeared during World War II in Europe. (WFSB)
WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

The family of a World War II veteran was given a flag to commemorate the man who is the only known veteran from West Haven to be declared missing in action during the fighting in Europe.

Lt. James W. Gilbert disappeared in the 1940s. His family has been without closure since it happened.

"They've never found any trace of him, not a dog tag or anything," said Terrance Gilbert, James Gilbert's nephew.

However, he said they do have a first-hand account of what happened leading up to his uncle's disappearance from someone in the same unit.

"When the Germans were approaching, they were in the trench," Terrance Gilbert said. "His guys started to retreat. He said, no we're going forward and that was when he was shot.

"Then he went to the hospital, and then the hospital was blown up," Terrance Gilbert added.

With the help of Sen. Richard Blumenthal, 70-year-old Terrance Gilbert said he has been able to compile medals honoring his uncle's service.

Blumenthal presented the flag to Terrance Gilbert on Wednesday at the West Haven Veterans Museum.

"A flag that is a token of our recognition and honor to the Gilbert family, and a flag that will grace this museum," Blumenthal said.

The senator also helped get James Gilbert's military uniform for a display at the museum.

The only thing missing from the exhibit was an American Flag, which the family said they never received after James Gilbert was declared missing.

The exhibit was officially completed on Wednesday morning.

The Gilbert family told Eyewitness News that the ceremony gave them a sense of closure, albeit years later.

Terrance Gilbert said he grew up not far from where the museum now stands.

"It's like he came home, full circle," he said.

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