The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pvt. Hillary Soileau, 23, of Bunkie, Louisiana, killed during World War II, was accounted for Dec. 8, 2020.
In January 1943, Soileau was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, when American forces went on the offensive to clear Guadalcanal of Japanese forces. Soileau was wounded on Jan. 14 during fighting on a group of hills nicknamed Galloping Horse. However, following the battle, he could not be found. After an extensive search of field hospitals, aid stations, and the battlefield, Soileau was declared missing in action on Feb. 3. He was officially declared killed in action on Dec. 13, 1945.
On Feb. 22, 1943, two unidentified bodies from the 27th Infantry Regiment, later designated Unknown X-50 Guadalcanal and Unknown X-52 Guadalcanal, recovered from the battlefield near the head of Galloping Horse, were buried at the Army, Navy, and Marine Cemetery on Guadalcanal. In December 1947 and January 1948, those buried at Guadalcanal cemeteries were exhumed and transported to Hawaii. Unknown X-50 was identified there, but X-52 was not and was subsequently buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
After thorough historical research, it was determined that X-52 was most likely Soileau. Unknown X-52 was disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.
To identify Soileau’s 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.
Soileau’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, along with the others who are still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Soileau will be buried May 21, 2022, in Washington, Louisiana.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty office at (800) 892-2490.
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, or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Soileau’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000001nzQX4EAM.