The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Air Forces Sgt. Willard S. Kendall, 23, of Chicago, Illinois, killed during World War II, was accounted for April 13, 2023.
In February 1944, Kendall was assigned to the 32d Bombardment Squadron, 301st Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force. On Feb. 25 Kendall was a tail gunner on the B-17G Flying Fortress that was struck by anti-aircraft fire after a bombing raid on the Prufening aircraft factory in Regensburg, Germany.
Eight of the nine crewmembers bailed successfully before the plane exploded and crashed northwest of Krakaudorf, Austria. During the fighter attack, Kendall called over the interphone about five minutes before the bail-out order was given reporting that he had been hit. Before bailing out of the aircraft multiple crewmen saw Kendall had died at his tail gunner position and agreed he went down with the plane.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. In July 1946, the 347th Quartermaster Battalion visited Krakaudorf, Austria after a local priest reported an American flier was buried in Grave 93 at the Krakaudorf Cemetery. The AGRC could not identify the remains, they were designated X-6853 St. Avold and transferred to the U.S. Military Cemetery at St. Avold, France in August 1946. Kendall was declared non-recoverable Sept. 22, 1950.
In the September 2017, the DPAA, sent an investigation team to Krakaudorf, after reviewing church records and eyewitness statements there was sufficient evidence to link Unknown X-6853 to Sgt. Kendall. In June 2019, X-6853 was disinterred from the Rhône American Cemetery and sent to the DPAA Laboratory for forensic analysis.
To identify Kendall’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Kendall’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Firenze, Italy, 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.
Kendall will be buried in Forest Park, Illinois, on a date to be determined.
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, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Kendall’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000Lla0EAC.