The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Tech. 4th Grade (TECH4) Elmo F. Hartwick, 38, of Onaga, Kansas, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 21, 2023.
In June 1944, Hartwick was assigned to Company C, 149th Engineer Combat Battalion in the European Theater. On June 6, Hartwick was aboard Landing Craft Infantry (Large) 92, along with roughly 200 other servicemembers, enroute to land on Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France. As LCI-92 steamed toward the shore, it struck an underwater mine which caused the craft to burst into flames. The craft was also hit by enemy artillery fire, causing an explosion that ignited the ships fuel stores and instantly killed everyone in the troop compartment. Due to the urgency of the situation, it was impossible for others to search for survivors. Hartwick’s remains were not accounted for after the war.
Around June 10, members of the 500th Medical Collecting Company examined the wreckage of LCI-92 and noted the burnt remains of servicemen in the troop compartment, where Hartwick and others were last seen. American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel in the European Theater, removed small amounts of remains from LCI-92 and buried them in the United States Military Cemetery (USMC) St. Laurent-sur-Mer.
Beginning in 1946, AGRC analyzed the remains found in LCI-92, segregating them into four separate Unknowns (X-53, X-83, X-83B, and X-83C). Despite their efforts, AGRC were unable to identify the Unknowns at the time and they were interred in Normandy American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Normandy, France.
In June and August 2021, the Department of Defense and ABMC officials exhumed the comingled remains of the four Unknowns and transferred them to the DPAA Laboratory for analysis.
To identify Hartwick’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Hartwick’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
TECH4 Hartwick will be buried in Onaga, Kansas, 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 or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Hartwick’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XmAbEAK.