The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. William R. Ragsdale, 23, of Nashville, Tennessee, killed during World War II, was accounted for April 15, 2022.
In June 1944, Ragsdale was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, which was part of the invasion force of the island of Saipan in a larger effort to capture the Mariana Islands from Japan. Ragsdale was initially reported as wounded in action and evacuated from Saipan on June 28.
When he was unable to be found during the chaos surrounding the battle and its aftermath, his status was changed to missing in action and then later deceased.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in the Pacific Theater. They searched for and disinterred remains on Saipan, but could not identify any as Ragsdale. He was declared non-recoverable in September 1949.
Remains designated as Unknown X-6 27th Infantry Division Cemetery were recovered from Saipan and interred in the Fort William McKinley Cemetery, now the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in the Philippines.
After thorough historical research, it was determined that X-6 could likely be identified. On Jan. 15, 2020, Unknown X-6 was disinterred and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.
To identify Ragsdale’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Ragsdale’s name is recorded in the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Ragsdale will be buried Aug. 6, 2022, in his hometown.