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Remains of Indiana soldier killed during World War II identified

The remains of a U.S soldier who died in France during World War II have been identified and will return home to be buried, officials said Tuesday. 

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that the remains of U.S. Army Pfc. Leonard E. Adams, of Dana, Indiana, were accounted for on July 20, 2022.

According to the DPAA, in January of 1945, Adams was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. 

U.S. Army Pfc. Leonard E. Adams, of Dana, Indiana, died during battle in World War II. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)

"Elements of the unit were supporting five companies attempting to secure terrain near Reipertswiller, France, when they were surrounded by German forces while being pounded by artillery and mortar fire," the DPAA said.

Only two men from the surrounded companies made it through German lines, with the rest either being captured or killed, according to the DPAA. Adams was among the soldiers killed, but his body was not recovered due to the fighting, the DPAA said. 

A year later, in 1946, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) — an organization that recovered fallen American personnel in the European Theater — discovered 37 unidentified sets of American remains in the area around Reipertswiller, the DPAA said. 

The organization was unable to identify any of the remains as Adams, and on May 4, 1951, he was declared non-recoverable, according to the DPAA.

But, over 70 years later, in July 2021, DPAA historians conducting research into soldiers who went missing from combat around Reipertswiller exhumed one of the 37 sets of remains from the Ardennes American Cemetery and sent them to the DPAA Laboratory for analysis.

Scientists used dental and anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis to identify Adams' remains, the DPAA said. 

Adams, whose name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery in Dinozé, France, will have a rosette placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, the DPAA said. 

He is set to be buried in Radcliff, Kentucky, at an undetermined date, according to the DPAA. 

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