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News Release

Press Release | June 27, 2023

Pilot Accounted For From World War II (Schmidt, P.)


The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Paul W. Schmidt, 20, of Rockville Center, New York, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 28, 2022.

In March 1945, Schmidt was assigned to 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 8th Air Force. His squadron was engaged with attacking German lines of transportation along the Rhine River. On March 23, Schmidt was attacking an enemy train near Sendenhorst, Germany, in his F-6D, a reconnaissance version of the P-51 Mustang fighter. His wingman reported he last saw Schmidt attacking the train, but he was never seen or heard from again. Schmidt was declared missing in action, but the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war. On March 24, 1946, with no evidence Schmidt survived the fighting, the War Department issued a presumptive finding of death.

In May 1945, an American graves registration team conducted an investigation in the Warendorf area and recovered a set of unidentified remains, later designated X-635 Margraten. There was insufficient evidence to make an identification.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Warendorf area in September 2016, DPAA historians determined X-635 Margraten could be associated with Schmidt. The remains, buried as an Unknown at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, were disinterred in June 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification.

To identify Schmidt’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) analysis.

Schmidt’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.

Schmidt will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, on a date later 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.

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, find us on social media at or

Schmidt’s personnel profile can be viewed at