RICHMOND, Ind. — Military scientists have identified the remains of an Indiana soldier who died in World War II when the tank he was commanding was struck by an anti-tank round during a battle in Germany.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Wednesday that the remains of U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Gene F. Walker of Richmond, Indiana, were identified in July, nearly 79 years after his death.

Walker was 27 and commanded an M4 Sherman tank in November 1944 when his unit battled German forces near Hücheln, Germany, and his tank was struck by an anti-tank round.

The tank’s other crew members survived, but Walker was killed and they were unable to remove his body from the tank due to heavy fighting. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death in April 1945 for Walker, DPAA said.

His remains were identified after a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains recovered in December 1944 from a burned-out tank in Hücheln possibly belonged to Walker.

Those remains were exhumed from the Henri-Chapelle U.S. Military Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium, in August 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis. Walker’s remains were identified based on anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and an analysis of mitochondrial DNA.

His remains will be buried in San Diego, California, in early 2024. DPAA said Walker’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery in Margarten, Netherlands, and a rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

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