Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff on Monday, September 15, 2014 in honor of a World War II soldier from Brooklyn whose remains were recently discovered and transported back to the United States. U.S. Army PFC Bernard Gavrin, 29, was last heard from in 1944 when he was reported missing in action during the battle for Saipan. His official burial will be on September 12 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
PFC Gavrin put his life on the line and paid the ultimate price to defend our nation and fight for the freedoms that it is built upon, Governor Cuomo said. After far too many years, he has returned home and has been granted a proper burial alongside the many other heroes who answered the call. I ask all New Yorkers to join me in honoring PFC Gavrin's memory, his service and his sacrifice.
On June 15, 1944, as part of an Allied strategic goal to secure the Mariana Islands, U.S. forces were ordered to occupy Saipan. After a month of intense fighting, enemy forces conducted a suicide assault, known as a banzai attack. This was designed to inflict as many casualties as possible against the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. During these attacks, elements of the 105th Infantry Regiment sustained heavy losses, with more than 900 soldiers killed or injured.
PFC Gavrin was reported missing in action on July 7, 1944.
Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state's service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.