The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pvt. Walter G. Wildman, 20, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, killed during World War II, was accounted for Jan. 26, 2022.
In November 1944, Wildman was assigned to Company M, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was part of the Hürtgen Forest offensive when he was reported killed in action on Nov. 13. Because of the fighting, his body was unable to be 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 Wildman’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in December 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-5441 Neuville, originally discovered by a German demining team and recovered by the AGRC in 1947, possibly belonged to Wildman. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.
To identify Wildman’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 Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Wildman’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, 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.
Wildman will be buried on May 23, 2022, in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
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.
Wildman’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000001ETh4MEAT.