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Illinois soldier accounted for from World War II

Soldier

WASHINGTON-- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that Army Tech. Sgt. Arthur W. Countryman, 37, of Plainfield, Illinois, killed during World War II, was accounted for June 14, 2021.

In November 1944, Countryman was assigned to Company F, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest, when he was reported killed in action on Nov. 20. His body was not recovered.

Following the end of the war, 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 Countryman’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in September 1951. While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-5430 Neuville, originally discovered by a German woodcutter and recovered by the AGRC in 1947, possibly belonged to Countryman. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.

To identify Countryman’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

Countryman’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.

Countryman will be buried Aug. 6, 2021, in his hometown. For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.

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Devin Kidd

Devin Kidd is the Assignment Manager at News 3 WSIL. He joined the team in February 2020. Devin graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2014. He recently spent several years in Orlando, FL while working at two different television stations before moving back home to southern Illinois to be closer to his family.

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