Soldier Missing In Action From WWII Identified (Kenner)

Release No: 11-030 July 27, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Harold D. Kenner, 20, of Scranton, Penn., will be buried on July 29 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. In late September 1944, Kenner’s unit, the 401st Glider Infantry Regiment, landed in Nijmegen, Netherlands, as part of the Allied Operation Market Garden. The men were soon engaged against enemy forces near Kiekberg Woods—approximately 7 miles southeast of Nijmegen. On Sept. 30, 1944, Kenner was listed as missing in action from the battle.

Following World War II, the Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) conducted investigations and searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen—including Kenner—lost throughout Europe. After extensive searches of the area, the AGRS concluded his remains were unrecoverable.

In late 1987, an anonymous source contacted the Netherlands National Territorial Command regarding human remains found in the Kiekberg Woods. A preliminary assessment conducted by a Dutch museum indicated the remains could be associated with 1st Lt. Joseph F. Myers, 401st Glider Regiment, one of up to 62 men lost during the same battle as Kenner. In 1992, the remains were transferred to U.S. authorities. In 1998, based on laboratory analysis and DNA testing, the remains could not be associated with Myers and were returned to the Dutch in 2001. In 2006, U.S. authorities requested the remains be returned for further examination and comparison with other soldiers missing from the Kiekberg Woods battle.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA– which matched that of Kenner’s cousins— in the identification of his remains.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.