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News Release

Press Release | Aug. 16, 2022

Airman Accounted For From World War II (Nies, W.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Walter Nies, 23, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 2, 2022.

In the winter of 1944, Nies was assigned to the 96th Bombardment Squadron, 2nd Bombardment Group (Heavy), 15th Air Force. On January 24, he was the tail gunner aboard a B-17F Flying Fortress bomber that was part bombardment mission to Sofia, Bulgaria. German fighters attacked the B-17’s formation over Yugoslavia while it was attempting to return to its home base in Italy. The attack was largely ineffectual, but Nies’ aircraft began having engine trouble shortly after and was forced to crash land on a beach near Ulcinj, Montenegro. The crew was captured by the Germans and all of the enlisted men, including Nies, were sent to Stalag Luft 6, a prisoner of war camp in Heydekrug, Germany. Nies was one of only three Americans who died in that POW camp. He died May 28 after being shot. German reports said he was trying to escape, but U.S. prisoner testimony following the war claimed he had been shot while on his way to the latrine in the early morning before the prisoners’ nightly lockdown had been lifted.

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.

Nies’ personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XeCBEA0.