U.S. Army Pvt. William D. Hedtke, 28, of Iola, Wisconsin, killed during World War II, was accounted for Oct. 17, 2019, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today.
In 1944, Hedtke was assigned to Battery B, 319th Glider Artillery Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division. Army officials reported he died of injuries sustained in a hard glider landing near Groesbeek, Netherlands, during Operation Market Garden on Sept. 18, 1944. His remains were not recovered after the war.
In June 1945, Canadian graves registration personnel recovered a set of American remains near Groesbeek that were given to the American Graves Registration Command, or AGRC. After unsuccessful efforts by the AGRC to identify the remains, they were designated X-1230 Margraten and interred as an Unknown at the Netherlands American Cemetery.
In 2016, DPAA disinterred X-1230 to be scientifically analyzed for possible association to an Operation Market Garden casualty.
To identify Hedtke’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosomal (Y-STR) analysis.
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.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,635 service members still unaccounted for from World War II with about 30,000 assessed as possibly recoverable. Hedtke’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Margraten American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the others missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Hedtke will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined. For future funeral information, visit www.dpaa.mil.
Source: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency