The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. Melvin C. Anderson, 31, of Omaha, Nebraska, accounted for on April 30, 2018, will be buried October 12 in his hometown. In November 1944, Anderson was a member of Company C, 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, participating in intense fighting in the Hürtgen Forest. His company was deployed as direct fire support for American infantrymen attacking the town of Grosshau. Two tank destroyers and six tanks, including the M10 tank destroyer Anderson was the tank commander on, were knocked out in the fighting around Grosshau on Nov. 25, 1944. He was killed during the battle, though his status was initially listed as missing in action. On Dec. 21, 1944, his status was amended to killed in action.
In 1947, an American investigation team found remains inside the remnants of an America tank destroyer near Grosshau. The remains were later designated X-6852 Neuville. Due to the condition of the remains, they were declared unidentifiable and were interred at United States Military Cemetery Draguignan, France, today’s Rhone American Cemetery.
After thorough research and historical analysis, historians from DPAA determined Anderson was a strong candidate for association to the remains. In June 2017, X-6852 Neuville was disinterred and sent to DPAA.
To identify Anderson’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,910 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Anderson’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the other MIAs from WWII. Although interred as an "unknown" his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. 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.