The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Gene F. Walker, 27, of Richmond, Indiana, killed during World War II, was accounted for July 21, 2023.
In November 1944, Walker was assigned to Company H, 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, as the commander of an M4 Sherman tank. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hücheln, Germany, when his tank was hit by an 88-mm anti-tank round. The hit caused a fire and is believed to have killed Walker instantaneously. The surviving crew bailed out of the tank, but when they regrouped later were unable to remove Walker from the tank due to heavy fighting. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death in April 1945.
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 Hücheln area September 1948. Town locals were interviewed, but there were no reports of deceased American servicemembers in the area. All efforts to locate 2LT Walker proved unsuccessful at the time.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hücheln area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-157 Henri-Chapelle, recovered from one of the burned-out tanks in Hücheln in December 1944 possibly belonged to Walker. The remains, which had been buried in Henri-Chapelle U.S. Military Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Hombourg, Belgium, were disinterred in August 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Walker’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
Walker’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, 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.
Walker will be buried in San Diego, California, in early 2024.
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, and find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.