The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are those of Army Cpl. Joseph Akers, 23, of Kenova, West Virginia. Akers was accounted for on April 30, 2018.
In November 1944, Akers 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 Akers was 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, present-day Rhone American Cemetery.
After thorough research and historical analysis, historians from DPAA determined that Akers was a strong candidate for association to the remains.
In June 2017, X-6852 Neuville was disinterred and sent to DPAA.
To identify Akers’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, and
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 72,776 service members
(approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Akers’ 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 others
missing 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 funeral and family contact information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2498.
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.