WWII Army Lieutenant to be Laid to Rest in 2024

An American soldier’s remains are finally returning home after 79 years following his death in World War II. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Gene F. Walker has been officially found and accounted for.

Walker, a native of Richmond, Indiana, served as a commander of an M4 Sherman tank during World War II. In November 1944, his tank was hit by an anti-tank round during a battle with German forces near Hücheln, Germany, causing a fire. Despite his crew members fleeing, Walker, 27, remained in the tank and perished.

His fellow service members were unable to recover his body due to heavy fighting, and subsequent efforts to locate his remains were unsuccessful. However, a historian from DPAA made a breakthrough in identifying Walker’s remains, which were exhumed from the Henri-Chapelle U.S. Military Cemetery in Belgium and sent for testing and analysis in August 2021.

After extensive analysis, including mitochondrial DNA testing, the agency positively identified the remains as belonging to 2nd Lt. Walker. The news comes as a bittersweet relief to his daughter, Anne Walker Collingwood, who was just three months old at the time of her father’s death and never met him.

Collingwood expressed her shock and happiness at the news, stating that her family plans to hold a ceremony for her father early next year. Walker will be interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

While Collingwood expressed her regret that her mother and grandmother are not alive to witness this closure, she also emphasized the significance of finally bringing her father home. In the broader context of the war, DPAA reports that more than 72,000 U.S. military service members remain unaccounted for from World War II.

As a final act of remembrance, a rosette will be placed next to Walker’s name on the Walls of the Missing in Margarten, Netherlands. The memorial commemorates 1,722 missing and unaccounted for American soldiers from World War II, symbolizing the completion of each fallen soldier’s journey from lost to found.

The long-awaited closure for Walker’s family, while bringing comfort, also serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to honor and bring closure to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.


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