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News Release

Press Release | Dec. 18, 2023

Soldier Accounted for from WWII (Mitchell, H.)

WASHINGTON  –  

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Pvt. Homer J. Mitchell, 20, of Portales, New Mexico, killed during World War II, was accounted for July 24, 2023.

In November 1944, Mitchell was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. His battalion had been tasked with holding defensive positions in the Pachten Forest near Dillingen, Germany, when he was reported killed in action on Dec. 10 by enemy artillery fire. His body could not be evacuated due to intense fighting against heavily reinforced German forces. American commanders eventually ordered the regiment to withdraw, but many casualties were nonrecoverable due to the intensity of the mortar and artillery strikes.

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 Pachten Forest area between 1946 and 1950 but were unable to recover or identify Mitchell’s remains. He was officially declared Killed in Action in November 1951.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Pachten Forest area in 2018, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-3212, recovered in Feb. 1946, possibly belonged to Mitchell. The remains, which had been interred in the United States Military Cemetery (now Brittany American Cemetery), an American Battle Monuments Commission site in St. James, France, in 1950, were disinterred in August 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification.

To identify Mitchell’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as dental and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Mitchell’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Lorraine American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in St. Avold, France, 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.

Mitchell will be buried in Portales, New Mexico, on April 26, 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. DPAA would also like to thank Mr. Chris Seiwert and Mr. Hans-Peter Jung for their assistance with historical and battlefield information vital to DPAA’s research of the fighting at the Pachten Forest and for Mitchell’s case.

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.

Mitchell’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000001kDRVFEA4.