The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Staff Sgt. David Rosenkrantz, 28, of Los Angeles, accounted for on March 7, will be buried in June 20 in Riverside, California. In September 1944, Rosenkrantz was a member of Company H, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, participating in Operation Market Garden, a ploy by Allied planners to break German defensive lines on the western front by capturing a highway route through the Netherlands. On Sept. 28, 1944, Rosenkrantz’ platoon occupied Heuvelhof, a farm, located south of the town of Groesbeek. German tanks and infantry launched a major attack that morning. The isolated paratroopers hid among sparse trees and buildings. As Rosenkrantz rose from his position, enemy gunfire erupted and Rosenkrantz was killed. Due to enemy fire and the proximity to enemy troops, Rosenkrantz’ remains could not be recovered.
Between 1945 and 1952, Canadian, Dutch and American Graves Registration teams were active in the area where Rosenkrantz died. The Dutch team recovered identification tags for Rosenkrantz, along with fragmentary remains. An American team, acting on the information provided by the Dutch, followed up and found additional fragmentary remains, but the combined remains discovered were too sparse to be identified. Unbeknownst to those teams, a Canadian team working in the area prior to their arrival had already collected the remains of service members killed in this area. As a result of all of these activities, several sets of unidentifiable remains recovered from the battlefields around Groesbeek were buried as unknowns in American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) cemeteries in Europe.
After thorough research and historical analysis by DPAA. Aided by Dutch researcher Mr. Ben Overhand and 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment historian Mr. Frank Van Lunteren, one set of interred remains, X-1234 Margraten, was circumstantially associated to the location of where Rosenkrantz was killed.
The remains, which were initially recovered by the 2nd Canadian Graves Registration Unit, were buried at the Canadian Military Cemetery on June 22, 1945, and were listed as an American Soldier.
On June 14, 2017, DPAA disinterred X-1234 from the Netherlands American Cemetery.
To identify Rosenkrantz’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records; and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Mr. Overhand, Mr. Van Lunteren, the Royal Netherlands Army’s Recovery and Identification Unit and the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this recovery.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,906 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Rosenkrantz’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site, along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.