U.S. Army Corporal John A. Spruell, 19, of Cortez, Colo., was killed during the Korean War.

U.S. Army Corporal John A. Spruell, 19, of Cortez, Colo., was killed during the Korean War. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency last week announced that the remains of two soldiers, a pilot and two sailors from World War II, and a soldier from the Korean War have been identified.

U.S. Army Cpl. John A. Spruell, 19, of Cortez, Colo., killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Aug. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind, 28, of Pittsburgh, killed during World War II, was accounted for May 8, 2024.

U.S. Army Pfc. Lemuel Dent Jr., missing in action during World War II, was accounted for Feb. 2, 2024.

U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Allan W. Knepper, 27, of Nez Perce County, Idaho, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 10, 2023.

Navy Coxswain Harley E. Alexander, killed during World War II, was accounted for on March 22, 2024.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Everett C. Titterington, 21, who died on the USS Oklahoma during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, was identified on March 23, 2021.

As of May 2023, more than 80,000 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the total, approximately 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific region, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea (such as ship losses and known aircraft water losses).


In December 1950, Spruell was a member of Battery B, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. He went missing in action after combat in the vicinity of Hagaru-ri, South Korea, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. At the time the circumstances for his loss were not immediately recorded, and there was never any evidence that he was a prisoner of war. The Army issued a finding of Missing in Action on Dec. 6, 1950.

In 1954, the opposing nations reached an agreement to exchange war dead (Operation GLORY). One set of remains, designated X-15754 OP GLORY, was recovered near the Chosin Reservoir in the vicinity of where the 57th Field Artillery Battalion was fighting. A tentative association was made between X-15754 and Spruell, but definitive proof could not be found, and X-15754 was determined to be unidentifiable. The remains were sent to Hawaii and buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

On March 8, 2021, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-15754 as part of Phase Three of the Korean War Disinterment Project and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Spruell’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as chest radiograph comparison and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Spruell’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Spruell will be buried in Cortez on a date to be determined.


In June 1944, Baskind was assigned to Company C, 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion, as a platoon commander of four M-10 tank destroyers.

According to historical war records, Baskind and another soldier from his company were scouting ahead of their tank destroyers when enemy forces descended upon them in an ambush. The other soldier, heavily wounded, escaped the firefight and made his way back to the main U.S. force, believing Baskind was killed in the attack. Several attempts were made to retrieve Baskind’s body from the ambush point, but they could not locate his remains.

U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Nathan B. Baskind, 28, of Pittsburgh was killed during World War II.

U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Nathan B. Baskind, 28, of Pittsburgh was killed during World War II. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

Investigators for the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) discovered a death and burial report for Baskind among the foreign records filed on May 29, 1945, in Meiningen, Germany. The record revealed Baskind was captured and died at a hospital for German air force personnel near Cherbourg on June 23, 1944. German forces buried him in the military cemetery in the city. In early 1948, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent the U.S. Army one of Baskind’s identification tags.

While disinterring a mass grave of what were believed to be 24 Germans buried in the Cherbourg cemetery in November 1957, a team from the German War Grave Commission (the Volksbund) discovered one of Baskind’s identification tags and remnants of an American-type shirt with a first lieutenant rank and tank destroyer insignia. The remains in the mass grave were commingled, and the German team was unable to separate them into individual sets. The German investigators placed the remains in seven burial pouches and reinterred them in the Marigny German War Cemetery, 40 miles south of Cherbourg.

In 2023, the Volksbund and other interested private research organizations exhumed the commingled remains for analysis. By February 2024, these researchers contacted DPAA to inform the agency that Baskind’s remains had been analyzed by a private U.S. laboratory and sought DPAA’s concurrence. To verify the remains, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System reviewed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis previously performed.

Baskind’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Normandy American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, 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.


In February 1945, Dent was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 366th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division in the European Theater. Dent was killed Feb. 8 near the Cinquale Canal, north of Viareggio, Italy. Dent was on board a tank that was crossing the canal, when it was struck by enemy mortar, machine gun, and artillery fire. His body was not recovered, and Germany never reported him a prisoner of war.


In summer 1943, Knepper was a pilot with the 49th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group in the North African and Mediterranean Theater. On July 10, Knepper departed El Bathan Airfield, Tunisia, in his P-38 “Lightning” as one of many fighter waves assigned to attack enemy forces near Caltagirone, Italy, and neutralize Axis air powers.

U.S. air forces were dispatched every 30 minutes throughout the day. Knepper’s squadron encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire, and another pilot witnessed Knepper’s aircraft veer suddenly skyward before rolling halfway over and plummeting to the ground.

There was no witness of any deployed parachute following the crash, and it was believed he was still in the plane when it crashed. Knepper’s remains were not recovered, and he was subsequently declared missing in action.


On June 8, 1944, Alexander was assigned to the destroyer USS Glennon. The ship struck a mine off the coast of Quinnéville, France, and 16 sailors went overboard. Ultimately, the majority of the crew had abandoned the vessel, but a few remained on board for salvage operations, including Alexander.

On June 10, the Glennon was struck by multiple artillery barrages from German forces on shore, and the ship sank late in the evening. Following the attack, 38 sailors had been wounded, and 25 were missing, including Alexander. Other than the rescued sailors thrown overboard from the initial mine strike, there is not report of any recovery of other missing sailors. The remains of Alexander were not accounted for and he was deemed non-recoverable on May 4, 1949.


Titterington was assigned to the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet. The ship quickly capsized after being hit by several torpedoes. He will be buried Sept. 5 in Bloomington, Calif. Read more about him here.

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