US agency identifies remains of Indiana soldier killed in France during WWII

DANA, Ind. (AP) — The remains of an Indiana soldier who was killed in France during World War II have been identified by U.S. military scientists more than 75 years after his death.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Tuesday that the remains of U.S. Army Pfc. Leonard E. Adams, 25, of Dana, Indiana, were identified in July 2022, although his family only recently received a full briefing on his identification.

Adams died in January 1945 when he and other members of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division were surrounded by German forces and pounded by artillery and mortar fire while helping secure terrain near Reipertswiller, France.

Only two U.S. soldiers made it through the German lines, and the rest were either killed or captured, DPAA said. Adams was among those killed, but his body could not be recovered because of the fighting.

Starting in 1946, military personnel searched the area around Reipertswiller and eventually found 37 unidentified sets of American remains. One of those sets of remains was exhumed in July 2021 from Ardennes American Cemetery and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory for analysis.

Adams’ remains were identified through dental and anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and an analysis of mitochondrial DNA, the DPAA said.

The agency said Adams’ remains will be buried in Radcliff, Kentucky, although the date of that burial has not yet been determined.

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