The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Tech Sgt. Leonard J. Dettloff 26, of Detroit, Michigan, killed during World War II, was accounted for May 5, 2023.
In November 1944, Dettloff was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 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 killed in action on Nov. 10. Due to the tactical situation, his remains could not be immediately recovered.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command 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 Dettloff’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in October 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-8118 St. Avold, recovered from Germeter and Hürtgen possibly belonged to Dettloff. The remains, which had been buried in Lorraine American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Saint-Avold, France, in 1949, were disinterred in 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification. While analyzing X-8118, DPAA scientists also examined X-8122 St. Avold, had been recovered commingled with X-8118.
To identify Dettloff’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Dettloff’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.
Dettloff will be buried in Holly, Michigan on a date to be determined.
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.
Detloff’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000LkyzEAC.