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News Release

Press Release | May 18, 2023

Tanker Accounted For From World War II (Vinyard, J.)


The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Cpl. Joe A. Vinyard, 23, of Loudon County, Tennessee, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 9, 2022.

In December 1944, Vinyard was assigned to Company A, 774th Tank Battalion, as a crewmember on an M4 Sherman tank. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Gey, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest, when his tank was hit by an 88-mm round. The crew bailed out of the tank, but when they regrouped a few minutes later, Vinyard was missing. One of the other crewmen reported seeing Vinyard exit the tank, but, even after several days, no one could find him. Two later inspections of the destroyed tank reported finding no remains inside. The Germans never reported Vinyard as a prisoner of war. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death in April 1946.

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. In the fall of 1947, remains were found in two destroyed tanks in or near Gey. However, they could not be identified. Vinyard was declared non-recoverable in December 1950.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-6669 Neuville, recovered from one of the burned-out tanks in Gey possibly belonged to Vinyard. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, were disinterred in July 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for analysis.

To identify Vinyard’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), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

Vinyard’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.

Vinyard will be buried in Maryville, Tennessee on a date yet 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. DPAA would also like to thank Willem Doms for assisting our historians in finding the historical location of Vinyard’s tank.

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, and find us on social media at or

Vinyard’s personnel profile can be viewed at