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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / California WWII soldier’s death accounted for by DPAA after 76 years

California WWII soldier’s death accounted for by DPAA after 76 years

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The Defense POW/MIA (prisoner of war/missing in action) Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the death of Army Private Archie V. Fleeman, 19, of Bell, Calif. — who was killed during World War II — was accounted for on Sept. 23, 2021.

In late 1944, Fleeman was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was part of the Hürtgen Forest offensive, near Hürtgen, Germany, where he was serving as a stretcher-bearer for wounded troops. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 11., and German forces never listed him as a prisoner of war. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death on Nov. 12, 1945.

A local newspaper article released in 1945 announced that Fleeman’s mother received a Bronze Star Medal on behalf of her son. | Photo courtesy of the DPAA.

Following the war’s conclusion, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) 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 Fleeman’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in September 1951.

While studying unresolved American losses in Hürtgen, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains — designated X-8117 St. Avold and originally discovered by a German team clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance from the woods in 1946 — possibly belonged to Fleeman. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, were disinterred in August 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.

To identify Fleeman’s 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) analysis.

Fleeman’s name is recorded on the “Walls of the Missing” at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, 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.

Fleeman, whose personal service member profile can be found here, will be buried in Oklahoma City, Okla. The date has yet to be decided. For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.

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