Press Release | July 23, 2021

Soldier Accounted For From World War II (Countryman, A.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Tech. Sgt. Arthur W. Countryman, 37, of Plainfield, Illinois, killed during World War II, was accounted for June 14, 2021.

In November 1944, Countryman was assigned to Company F, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest, when he was reported killed in action on Nov. 20. His body was not recovered.

Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but were unable to recover or identify Countryman’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in September 1951.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-5430 Neuville, originally discovered by a German woodcutter and recovered by the AGRC in 1947, possibly belonged to Countryman. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.

To identify Countryman’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

Countryman’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, Netherlands, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Countryman will be buried Aug. 6, 2021, in his hometown.

For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.

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.

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 https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.

Countryman’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XgZGEA0.