Agency identifies remains of Virginia WWII soldier killed in Germany in 1944

Army Staff Sgt. Raymond C. Blanton was accounted for on April 23, 2020

Army Staff Sgt. Raymond C. Blanton, 19, of Richmond, Virginia, killed during World War II, was accounted for April 23, 2020. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

The remains of an Army Staff Sergent, who was killed during World War II, have been identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on Wednesday that Army Staff Sgt. Raymond C. Blanton, 19, of Richmond, Virginia, was accounted for on April 23, 2020.

In October 1944, Blanton was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. According to DPAA, he died in a battle with German troops near Germeter, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest on Oct. 14.

However, because it was an ongoing battle, officials said Blanton could not be recovered.

Once the war ended, the American Graves Registration Command, an organization that investigated and recovered missing American personnel in Europe, conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area from 1946 and 1950. However, they were unable to recover or identify Blanton’s remains and he was declared non-recoverable in 1951.

In 2017, a DPAA historian was studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area when he discovered that two sets of unidentified remains, recovered from the Raffelsbrand sector of the Hürtgen Forest near Germeter in 1946, possibly belonged to Blanton. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were dug up in September 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.

DPPA then used dental and anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System to identify Blanton’s remains.

Blanton’s 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.

Blanton will be buried on July 1, 2021, in his hometown.

About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.