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News Release

Press Release | Feb. 6, 2024

Airman Accounted for from WWII (Leukering, W.)


The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. William L. Leukering, 28, of Metropolis, Illinois, killed during World War II, was accounted for March 20, 2023.

In the summer of 1944, Leukering was assigned to the 816th Bomber Squadron (Heavy), 483rd Bomber Group (Heavy), 15th Air Force based. Leukering was a radio operator on a B-17G Flying Fortress that was struck by enemy anti-aircraft during a bombing raid on German air defense installations in Memmingen, Germany. Due to the damage to the B-17G the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. Six of the airmen parachuted successfully while the other five crew members including Leukering were believed to still be on board. The surviving crew witnessed the aircraft explode in an area south of Memmingen, Germany.

Leukering’s body was not recovered, and the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war. The War Department issued a finding of death on July 19, 1945.

Beginning in 1946, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), Army Quartermaster Corps, was the organization tasked with recovering missing American personnel in the European Theater. In 1946, AGRC investigators searched the area of the crash site, they discovered two sets of remains however neither were associated with Leukering. He was declared non-recoverable July 26, 1951.

In 2012 a German researcher notified Department of Defense investigators to an aircraft crash site near Kimratshofen, Germany, possibly associated to Leukering’s B-17. This information subsequently led to an investigation in 2013 and, excavation efforts in 2018. The excavation team located possible human remains and material evidence.

In 2019, DPAA partner teams from the University of New Orleans, and Cranfield University, continued work at the Kimratshofen site, recovering additional material, which was also transferred to the DPAA laboratory.

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

Leukering’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Epinal American Cemetery an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Epinal, France., along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Leukering will be buried in Round Knob, Illinois, 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 or find us on social media at or

Leukering’s personnel profile can be viewed at