Hero Army Lieutenant Killed in WWII Will Finally Be Laid to Rest in 2024

An American hero is finally coming home.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Gene F. Walker has officially been found and accounted for 79 years after his death in World War II.

Walker, a native of Richmond, Indiana, was assigned to Company H, 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division and served as a commander of an M4 Sherman tank during World War II.

In November 1944, Walker’s unit fought German forces near Hücheln, Germany. His tank was hit by an anti-tank round, which caused a fire and prompted surviving crew members to abandon the tank and flee.

Walker was not among them. He was 27 years old.

His fellow service members tried to recover his body from the burned tank, but they were unable to retrieve him due to “heavy fighting.”

Efforts to locate deceased American military personnel upon the war’s end around Hücheln, Germany, occurred in 1948. However, Walker’s remains were unable to be found.

But thanks to the efforts of a historian from DPAA, Walker’s remains are unaccounted for no longer.

The historian determined that a set of unidentified remains likely belonged to Walker, so the remains were exhumed from the Henri-Chapelle U.S. Military Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium, and sent for testing and analysis in August 2021.

After various methods of analysis and evidentiary examination, including mitochondrial DNA, the agency was confident in concluding that it was indeed 2nd Lt. Walker who they had identified.

Although it has been 79 years, Walker will be received home by his family — his daughter, Anne Walker Collingwood, who was just three months old when he died.

He and his daughter never met before his passing.

“It was the biggest surprise I’ve ever had in my life. I still can’t grasp it,” Collingwood said in an interview with The New York Times.

Collingwood said her family plans to have a ceremony for her father early next year. He will be interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California, a scenic vista which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

“I was extremely happy and wishing that my mother and my grandmother could be alive, so that they could know this,” she continued.

According to DPAA, another 72,134 U.S. military service members are unaccounted for from World War II.

As a final act of recognition, a rosette will be placed next to Walker’s name on the Walls of the Missing in Margarten, Netherlands. A poignant American memorial, it commemorates 1,722 missing and unaccounted for American soldiers from World War II.

The rosette symbolizes the completion of each fallen soldier’s journey, from lost to found.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

 

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