The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Eugene P. Shauvin, 25, of Spokane, Washington, killed during World War II, was accounted for March 2, 2022.
In the early fall of 1944, Shauvin was assigned to the 95th Troop Carrier Squadron, 440th Troop Carrier Group. On Sept. 17, Shauvin was piloting a C-47 Skytrain aircraft that was shot down over Belgium, en route to the Netherlands to drop 11 Pathfinder paratroopers ahead of Operation Market Garden. Several Belgian witnesses saw the plane crash near the villages of Retie and Kortijnen. Only six paratroopers successfully bailed out. The four-person crew, including Shauvin, and the other five paratroopers died in the crash.
A few days after the crash, several area residents recovered eight bodies from the crash site and buried them in a nearby common grave. German forces left the area on Sept. 23, and on Sept. 25, the Belgian Red Cross exhumed the remains from the common grave and reinterred them in the Retie village cemetery. In June 1945, the Army’s 3049th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company disinterred 22 sets of American remains associated with numerous air losses from the Retie cemetery and transported them to the U.S. Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, for processing. By October 1951, everyone from Shauvin’s aircraft had been identified and accounted for except for Shauvin. He was declared non-recoverable on Oct. 29.
In 1999, Shauvin’s daughter, Linda, contacted the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI), a DPAA predecessor, with evidence that her father’s remains might still be found at the crash site. CILHI sent an investigation team in 2002, and the next year, the newly formed Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), also a DPAA predecessor, sent a recovery team. The team located the cockpit, but didn’t find Shauvin, and so recommended no further excavation.
In 2016, Linda Chauvin requested DPAA reconsider the decision not to excavate further. After assessing the 2003 reports, it was determined there was sufficient evidence to support additional excavation work at the site. It took until 2019 to complete a complex series of negotiations with host-nation authorities, to gain access, permits, and mitigate environmental challenges at the site, before COVID-19 delayed the excavation further. Bolstered by unwavering support from Shauvin's family, Belgian authorities, and the landowners and local community at Retie, a DPAA recovery team fully excavated the site in April and May 2021, and found human remains and possible life support equipment.
To identify Shauvin’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.
Shauvin’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Shauvin will be buried July 2022 in his hometown.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
DPAA published a story in June 2021 about Shauvin’s recent recovery effort, which can be read here: https://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/2648849/dpaa-completes-recovery-operations-in-belgium/.
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.
Shauvin’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XdkaEAC.