Killed in World War II, Army Pfc. Owens has been accounted for

Army Pfc. David N. Owens
Army Pfc. David N. Owens Photo credit DPAA

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. David N. Owens, 27, of Green Hills, North Carolina, killed during World War II, was accounted for June 15, 2022.

In November 1944, Owens was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest, when he was reported missing in action on Nov. 22. His body unable to be recovered, and the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war. He was declared killed in action Nov. 23, 1945.

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Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but were unable to recover or identify Owens’ remains. He was declared non-recoverable in December 1950.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-2707 Neuville, recovered near Hürtgen in 1946 possibly belonged to Owens. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, in 1950, were disinterred in August 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.

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

Owens’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, Netherlands, 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.

Owens will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, at a date yet to be determined.