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News Release

Press Release | April 18, 2024

Soldier Accounted for from WWII (Schafer, H.)

Washington  –  

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Harold A. Schafer, 28, of Denver, Colorado, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 26, 2023.

In December 1944, Schafer was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. After crossing the Saar River on December 6, his battalion captured wooded high ground north of Dillingen, Germany, before being stopped by fierce German resistance. Over several days, his battalion occupied defensive positions on the hill and repulsed numerous enemy counterattacks. Schafer was killed in action on Dec. 10 by enemy machinegun fire while moving to a different fighting position. His body was not recovered due to intense fighting against heavily reinforced German forces. When American forces were ordered to withdraw from the area on December 21, many casualties could not be recovered due to the intensity of the enemy fire.

Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Dillingen area between 1946 and 1950 but were unable to recover or identify Schafer’s remains. He was officially declared non-recoverable in November 1951.

In 2018, a DPAA historian studying unaccounted-for American soldiers lost during fighting at Dillingen determined that Schafer could potentially be associated to a set of remains designated X-4651 St. Avold. These remains had been recovered from the Dillingen area by AGRC investigators in 1946. In August 2021 the Department of Defense and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), exhumed the X-4651 remains, from Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. The remains were then sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification.

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

Schafer’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.

Staff Sgt. Schafer will be buried in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, on a date 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 Mr. Chris Seiwert, Mr. Peter Jung, and the Verein zur Bergung Gefallener in Osteuropa e.V. (VBGO) in Germany for assistance with information related to Schafer's case and other 90th Infantry Division losses and battle sites in the Pachten-Dillingen area.

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

Schafer’s personnel profile can be viewed at