RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Wednesday morning, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that 19-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Raymond C. Blanton of Richmond — who was killed during World War II — was accounted for on April 23, 2020.
According to the DPAA, in October 1944, Blanton was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. His unit was fighting German forces in the Hürtgen Forest near Germeter, Germany, when he was killed in action on Oct. 14.
However, because of the ongoing battle, officials say Blanton could not be recovered.
After the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command — which was assigned to investigate and recover missing American personnel in Europe — conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but could not recover or identify Blanton’ remains.
As a result, Blanton was declared non-recoverable in 1951.
However, officials say a DPAA historian studying unresolved American losses determined one of two sets of unidentified remains, designated X-4491 Neuville and X-4492 Neuville, that were recovered from the Raffelsbrand sector of the Hürtgen Forest near Germeter in 1946, possibly belonged to Blanton.
The remains had already been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, but they were disinterred in September 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, for identification.
Scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence and dental and anthropological analysis to identify Blanton’s remains. Meanwhile, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System utilized mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Blanton’s name — along with the names of others still missing from WWII — is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, Netherlands. However, since Blanton has been accounted for, a rosette will be placed next to his name.
Blanton will be buried in his hometown on July 1. If you want information about the family or the funeral, you are asked to call the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
“DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission,” the DPAA said in a statement on Wednesday, June 9.
If you want to view Blanton’s personnel profile, click here.