Soldier Killed During World War II Accounted For (Harris, D.)

Release No: 19-063 June 10, 2019
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WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today Army Pfc. Dewey W. Harris, 23, of Cherryville, Missouri, killed during World War II, was accounted for on April 16, 2019.

(This identification was initially published on April 23, 2019.)

In November 1944, Harris was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 14, 1944, after fierce combat in the Hürtgen Forest, near the village of Simonskall, in Germany. Due to ongoing combat operations and extensive land mines throughout the forest, American forces were unable to search for him. On Nov. 15, 1945, the War Department declared him deceased.

After the war, the American Graves Registration Command extensively searched the Hürtgen Forest for Harris’ remains. Unable to make a correlation with any remains found in the area, his remains were declared non-recoverable.

In 1946, following demining operations, a set of remains was recovered from near where Harris was last seen alive. The remains, unable to be identified, were designated Unknown X-2702, and buried at United States Military Cemetery Neuville, present day Ardennes American Cemetery, in Belgium.

Based upon the original recovery location of X-2702, DPAA analysts determined that there was a likely association between the remains and Harris. In August 2018, the Department of Defense and American Battle Monuments Commission disinterred X-2702 and accessioned the remains to the DPAA laboratory for identification.

To identify Harris’ 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) analysis.

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.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,704 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Harris’ 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 others missing from WWII. Although interred as an Unknown, Harris’ grave was meticulously cared for by ABMC for 70 years. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For family information, call the Army Service Casualty office at (800) 892-2490.

For future funeral information, visit https://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/PressReleaseArticleView/Article/1821247/soldier-killed-during-world-war-ii-accounted-for-harris-d/

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.