Illinois World War II soldier’s remains to be laid to rest
Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill. March 24, 2023
DIXON (Tribune News Service) — The remains of a U.S. Army private killed in action during World War II have been recovered almost 80 years after his death.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, DPAA, announced that Private Myron Elton Williams, 29, of Dixon, killed during World War II, was accounted for July 13, 2022.
A renewed effort in 2019 to identify remains from the war led to the discovery. Scientists relied on dental and anthropological analysis and evidence recovered from a German battleground so he could be returned to the U.S.
In November 1944, Williams was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest, when he was reported missing in action Nov. 16, according to a DPAA news release.
“His body unable to be recovered, and the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war, the War Department issued a presumptive finding of death for Williams on Nov. 17, 1945,” according to the release.
After the war, the American Graves Registration Command was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but were unable to recover or identify Williams’ remains.
He was declared non-recoverable in December 1951.
“Williams’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.” — Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains — then designated X-5432 Neuville — recovered near Germeter and Hürtgen possibly might be Williams.
The remains had been buried in 1949 at Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium. They were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.
While analyzing X-5432, DPAA scientists also examined X-5405 Neuville, which had been found only 20 yards from X-5432 in 1947, and discovered co-mingling between the two.
To identify Williams’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.
Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
“Williams’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the others still missing from World War II,” according to the release. “A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.”
Williams will be buried in Killeen, Texas, on a date yet to be determined.
“DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/ Africa for their partnership in this mission,” the release said.
(c)2023 the Daily Gazette (Sterling, Ill.)
Visit the Daily Gazette at www.saukvalley.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.